Skills system in London is ‘broken’ and failing to prepare people for work

London’s skills system is “broken” and needs a radical overhaul if future generations are to meet the needs of the city’s businesses, a group of MPs has been told.

London Councils, which represents all 32 London boroughs and the City of London, wants changes to the way the capital’s FE colleges and training providers are funded.

Giving evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group inquiry on small business productivity yesterday, Peter John, London Councils’ member for employment and skills, said the skills gap was getting wider.

A lack of local influence, poor labour market information and a “flawed” system of incentives for skills providers were leading to Londoners losing out on jobs and firms struggling to fill vacancies, he said.

“The skills system, as it stands, is not fit for purpose. There is a disconnect between the skills London is producing and the skills businesses, especially small businesses, need.

“Too much funding is being wasted on courses that employers do not need or want such as hair and beauty, car mechanics or health and safety.

“We need to address this urgently if we are to avoid producing a generation of Londoners unprepared for the labour market.”

Some 99 per cent of London businesses are small companies, which employ half the capital’s workforce.

Earlier this year the UK Commission for Employment and Skills found that businesses with fewer than five staff reported that one in three vacancies is hard to fill because of skill shortages and a lack of suitable candidates.

A report by London Councils published last year found that almost a quarter of vacancies in London were due to skills shortages, according to employers, with a particular lack of provision in growth areas like marketing, sales and the creative and cultural industries.

Mr John called on the government to overhaul the way colleges and training providers are funded and to devolve more powers to London boroughs so they can match provision to local needs.

He said funding should be devolved to London Enterprise Panel to manage the adult skills system at a London level. Currently this funding is agreed at national level, and although London gets £550 million a year, the employment rate still lags behind the UK average.

The All Party Parliamentary Group, chaired by Brian Binley MP, has been taking evidence since April.

Skills is one of its six areas of inquiry, including the quality of the education system and its responsiveness to employer needs.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said it was already building closer links between the world of work and the skills system by giving employers more influence over courses and qualifications.

It said this included putting employers in the driving seat in the delivery and design of high quality apprenticeships. Last year more than 77,000 Londoners were participating in an apprenticeships.

A spokeswoman said: “Employers tell us some school and college leavers’ literacy and numeracy levels are not good enough, that’s why English and maths requirements have been strengthened, specifically for 16-19 year-olds.

“The National Careers Service is helping to bring together schools and employers to help young people develop job-ready skills, and is working directly with Local Enterprise Partnerships to provide schools with expert advice on the world of work.”

This entry was posted in Around the UK, Have your say:, In the news, Policy by Paul Champion. Bookmark the permalink.

About Paul Champion

Some have called me a leader, and a entrepreneur, they say I have integrity, presence and skills to ensure continuous improvement and success in whatever challenges I face. They also tell me that I am positive, resilient and motivating. I say, I'm just a normaI guy from Gateshead in the North of England, who started as an apprentice engineer. I have been in the right place at the right time and in the wrong place at the wrong time! I have successfully initiated and led complex organizations and situations to completion and success, and I have been in some jobs where success seemed untouchable. Mainly though, I have tried to learn everyday, help people to progress and learn the skills they need to be successful. I have had the privilege of working with some great people locally across the UK and more recently internationally in Asia, Europe and now USA, where I am lucky enough to work for where I am head of 3aaa USA. This website is just me having an outlet to talk about all those thoughts, ideas and things I learn that pass through my head every day when I face the challenge of doing business. I will also rant on about how great apprenticeships are, and how you can help change peoples lives through them. After all thats how I got to do the great things that I have done, and also I am still an apprentice everyday! All I ask is that if you find it interesting then leave a comment and share what you read. THANK YOU.

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