Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan

Khan launches new campaign to boost skills

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has launched Skills for Londoners, a new campaign looking to boost training in capital.

The Mayor of London has launched a new skills agenda for the capital to ensure all Londoners have the opportunity to train in the skills that the capital’s economy needs.

The Skills for Londoners Capital Fund will invest £114m in high-quality equipment and facilities at London’s further education colleges and other education and training providers.

Khan has also established a Skills for Londoners Taskforce comprising business leaders and employers, skills and education experts and London government representatives.

The taskforce will develop a city-wide strategic approach so that Londoners and businesses can access the skills they need for future success.

London has a strong, dynamic, global economy, but the region’s employment rate has lagged behind the national average for three decades. 

More than 280,000 Londoners are unemployed, with particularly high rates of youth unemployment.

London also has a growing problem of in-work poverty, associated with low-skilled, low-paid work. Ensuring an effective and responsive skills system is critical to tackling these issues.

Sadiq believes that an effective skills system is also critical to meeting the needs of London’s businesses.

Employers repeatedly report skills shortage vacancies and skills gaps in their workforce, impacting on growth and productivity.

Given the uncertainty surrounding the terms of Britain’s exit from the EU, ensuring a more responsive skills system – as well as continued access to global talent - is more important than ever.

Khan, said: “I want all Londoners to have the same opportunities I had growing up. Skills for Londoners is the first step towards making that happen.

“While London is a great place to learn, there is no doubt that not enough Londoners are getting the skills they need to live up to their potential.

“This also impacts businesses, hampering their growth and forcing them to look further afield for talent.

“Now that we are leaving the European Union, it is more important than ever that we make sure more Londoners gain access to the skills they and our economy truly need.

“The further education and skills sector has a vital role to play in making sure all Londoners can truly be part of London’s prosperity.

“Through Skills for Londoners, we will address these problems head-on, giving Londoners the chance to train in the skills that will boost our economy and creating a pipeline of local talent and expertise for our businesses to tap into.”

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of London First, added: “This is the kind of initiative on skills that London business has been wanting to see for some time, and the need is now even more acute with current uncertainty over immigration.

“With the clock counting down to Brexit, it's vital to move quickly to ensure Londoners have every opportunity to get skilled up and ready to fill the quarter million vacancies in London each year.

“Business will work closely with the Mayor to address our skills shortages and get the UK into the best possible shape ahead of 2019."

Khan is also proposing to establish a Construction Skills Academy later in the year, in partnership with the housebuilding industry.

This will aim to close the gap between the demand for new housing in the capital and the need for more skilled construction workers.