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Bridging the skills gap

  • By Jamie Saddler

A radical overhaul of the skills system across the UK is needed if businesses are to avoid the negative effects of Brexit. Organisations in the capital are facing significant challenges as they seek to recruit employees with the right skills to do the job.

Read the report from the All Party Parliamentary Group for London.

Many of the capital’s key sectors, from construction and tech to hospitality and healthcare have substantial EU-born workforces. Any drop in EU migration is likely to have a disproportionate effect in London. But Brexit also represents an opportunity to do things differently, re-examine how to improve skills in the capital and do more to nurture UK-born talent. Read more about the impact Brexit could have on London's skills system.

Brexit is not the only challenge. In the coming years London will also have to cope with increased demand for training driven by a rapidly growing population, significant skills gaps in key sectors (almost a quarter of all vacancies in London are due to a lack of applicants with the right skills for the job) an employment rate that lags behind the rest of the UK, and one in five London families stuck in in-work poverty. Read more about the growing skills gap.

London is not the first major global city to face these problems and several states and provinces in the US and Canada have faced similar challenges. The report examines these models in detail, exploring the different ways they have tackled issues and what these approaches offer London.

For London to be a successful global city in the 21st century, it needs a dynamic, resilient, coherent and efficient skills system that responds to labour market need, and prepares Londoners for life and work in the capital. The APPG is making a number of recommendations to improve the skills system in the capital. Read the key recommendations.

Steve Reed MP, co-Chair of the APPG for London, said:

“For years London’s skills system has lagged behind that of other world cities, and it is an understatement to say it is not fit for purpose.

“With Brexit looming on the horizon and the capital ready and eager to boost Londoners’ skill sets, power must now be passed to London government so a new, more effective skills system can be developed.”

Bob Neill MP, co-chair of the APPG for London, said:

“If we fail to grow more of our own talent, any dip in migration will hit businesses hard, not only in London but in the UK as a whole.

“We must now seize the opportunity for a radical redesign of our skills system. With devolution at its heart, this will help us nurture UK-born talent and present the capital’s businesses with the skilled workers they need to continue to contribute £35 billion a year to the national exchequer.”

Read more about the impact Brexit could have on London's skills system

Read more about the growing skills gap

Read the key recommendations