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Using data to help Londoners get into work

  • By Jim Ranger

A pioneering online tool which brings together data on employment and skills could be the key to helping more young Londoners get into work.

Interactive website Skills Match represents the first example of its kind of an intelligence-led approach to addressing the capital’s high youth unemployment rate (1). It has been developed by London Councils in conjunction with educational data specialists MIME Consulting.

The web-based system combines skills data with labour market data in London up to 2020 to help users identify potential skills shortages at local authority level and give them the information they need to better match young people’s skills with the demands of business (2). Its target audience is careers advisors, planners, policy-makers, employers, schools and further education providers. 

Councillor Peter John, portfolio holder for young people, education and skills at London Councils said: “For a long time now, we have said something needs to be done to address the capital’s employment problem, especially among its young people.

“It is not acceptable that almost one in five eighteen to twenty-four year olds are unemployed, yet a fifth of vacancies are due to a skills shortage.

“While Skills Match is by no means a magic wand which will cause the problem to disappear entirely, it is a practical important step in the right direction.

“In addition, we will continue to call for responsibility for skills provision to be devolved to local authorities so they can continue to drive improvement and ensure London’s young people get the best start in life.”

Yolande Burgess, strategy director for Young People’s Education and Skills at London Councils, said: “Far too few people know what jobs will be available over the coming years. Skills Match is our opportunity to stop the tail of supply wagging the dog of demand.

“While we don’t expect this system to change skills supply over-night, it may help providers and careers advisors to think more laterally about opportunities for students and where they can go next.”

Skills Match follows the 2013 launch of Intelligent London, an interactive tool which identifies the latest trends in education and training among 14-to-19-year-olds.

Paid for by a grant from the Cabinet Office and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Open Data Breakthrough Fund, the site took over a year in development. Its creators are keen to emphasis it is still a work in progress.

Steve Preston, director of MIME Consulting, said: “Skills Match brings together complex data in an entirely new way.

"Whilst we have spent a great deal of time getting Skills Match to where it is, what we have is just the start.  We want to encourage as many users as possible to try out Skills Match and give us feedback.

“Only by putting it out there in this way can we create a product that will help users to make informed decisions and have a positive impact on young people’s lives.”

ENDS

Notes to Editor
1. Youth unemployment (18-to-24 year olds) in London is 18.1 per cent above the London all-age average of seven per cent. (http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/subnational-labour/regional-labour-market-...

2. Skills Match has been developed using the DfE National Pupil Database, Skills Funding Agency/Data Service ILR, GLA Economics, UKCES Working Futures and 2011 Census (Workplace Zones). 

3. To arrange an interview with Yolande Burgess and/or Steve Preston, please contact Martin Gavin, London Councils’ Media Manager, at [email protected], or on 020 7934 9841.