London businesses unite to tackle severe skills shortages
A joint bid to tackle London’s skills shortages has been announced today by the capital’s business groups, with the backing of the Mayor of London.
Facilitated by London First, and to be delivered in partnership with Federation of Small Businesses London (FSB), London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), and Confederation of British Industry London (CBI), it will help Londoners get the skills that will propel them into work by bringing employers and educators together to ensure training matches demand. This approach responds to the needs of London’s economy and communities and will help drive the capital’s recovery from the pandemic.
The partnership’s programme forms a bid to run a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) in London. This is a government initiative, first set out in last year’s Skills White Paper, designed to support the ambition to move to a high-skilled, high-wage, high-productivity economy. By putting employers at the heart of the skills system, LSIPs help training provision to be more responsive to the skills needs of employers of all shapes and sizes in local labour markets.
Since Brexit and the pandemic, skills shortages have increased, and many vacancies remain unfilled. With estimates suggesting that tens of thousands have left the labour market, closing the skills gap is critical to enable employers to recruit suitable candidates at scale. The LSIP can support this and help better match candidates to emerging sectors such as green and data-focused careers.
The Department for Education will announce the outcome of the bid selection process in early autumn.
Muniya Barua, Managing Director of Policy & Strategy at London First, said: “It is great to see the capital’s businesses united in their commitment to tackling London’s skills crisis and getting Londoners into good jobs. We are delighted to be leading the charge on this bid which will help Londoners reskill and upskill into the jobs the economy needs. We look forward to working with our partners to get London’s labour market firing on all cylinders.”
Anneka Hendrick, Regional Director, London at Confederation of British Industry London, said: “The CBI is delighted to be working alongside London’s other business membership organisations to address critical skills and labour issues. From SMEs to large multi-national corporations, businesses across all sectors continue to be hampered by significant skills shortages, stymying growth and innovation. There is an urgent need for a dynamic, effective, and responsive skills system, which puts employers at its heart, and capitalises on the enormous diversity of knowledge, skills and lived experience we have here in the capital. This will be vital to ensuring London remains an internationally competitive, resilient, and future-focused city.”
Rowena Howie, London Policy Chair, Federation of Small Businesses London, said: “Addressing the skills issues facing small businesses is of paramount importance. Working in partnership with our partner employer representative bodies, the time is right for a united business voice in London on attracting and retaining the talent needed to help grow the capital’s 1million+ enterprises. A healthy economy needs a healthy skills system and we are delighted to be supporting this joint bid.”
Richard Burge, Chief Executive, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “Business is united in wanting change for our city. By plugging the skills gaps we can drive up economic growth and create new jobs for every borough across London. This is also about ensuring that every Londoner has the opportunity to achieve their ambitions. We are a creative and dynamic city. By addressing the skills gaps, London will remain the global centre for business”.