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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Skills system failing London, new report reveals

The current approach to skills is failing the capital and more jobs would be created and growth boosted by devolving skills powers and resources to London boroughs, according to a new report. 

London Councils, which represents London's 33 local authorities, has published London's Skills Challenge, which looks at the capital's skills needs and the role  London's boroughs should play in ensuring skills provision meets the needs of London's businesses and communities.

The report argues that the current skills system is failing to address the capital's employment problem. London's employment rate lags behind the UK average, despite government spending of £550 million a year on skills. Almost a quarter of vacancies in London are due to skills shortages, according to employers - with a lack of provision in growth areas like marketing, sales and the creative and cultural industries. 

Chancellor Peter John, executive member for skills and employment at London Councils, said: "The report clearly shows that locally-led schemes are the most efficient way of delivering local skills for local jobs. 

"The government should provide better help for less money by devolving power down." 

The report outlines a number of measures to address the issue. These include devolving powers and resources to boroughs or groups of boroughs, improving awareness amongst jobseekers of the skills employers need most, and incentivising skills providers to offer training for the jobs most in-demand by businesses.

A tailored and responsive approach is needed to address the huge diversity in employment rates and skills needs across the capital.

London's economic output is the same size as that of Sweden's and it has a population as large as Switzerland's. The capital's economy varies hugely - from finance in the City, to distribution and transport in West London, tourism and leisure in the West End and emerging technological industries in East London. London's boroughs are best placed to help skills providers respond to this diversity and provide the right skills where they are needed. 

"Boroughs are well placed to act as intermediaries between businesses, skills providers and jobseekers - they are involved in local regeneration projects which create new jobs, they understand their local employment hubs and communities, and they have good links with local businesses and Jobcentres, as well as a strong record in aligning skills with local need," John concluded. 


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