We are delighted to launch ‘Mind the Skills Gap’ – An employer-led plan for improving skills and training in our sub-region.
Centred on employers’ needs, ‘Mind the Skills Gap’ is an employer-led plan for improving skills and training in the Local London sub-region. A product of in-depth research into employment skills in the Capital, it is the first step to closing those gaps, aligning training and courses to meet employers’ needs; improving productivity, and helping more Londoners into good work.
This comes at a crucial time for employers and Londoners, with 27% of Local London employers reporting existing gaps in skills and capacity in their workforce and 70% of those with hard-to-fill vacancies attributing that difficulty to skills shortages. This is holding back people from getting into work, stopping businesses from growing and putting a brake on economic recovery.
Local London’s ‘Mind the Skills Gap’ highlights the specific needs and priorities of employers in Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Bromley, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest, along with actionable proposals for addressing them.
The importance of a sub-regional approach is underscored by the impact of Covid and cost of living on unemployment which is more pronounced in boroughs in the Local London sub-region. Unemployment benefit claimant figures track between 0.4-0.9% higher here than the capital as a whole. There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer in London to address these challenges; a more localised approach is required.
Consolidating the views of hundreds of local businesses, employer representative groups, training providers and other stakeholders in these nine boroughs, the plan articulates employers’ current and anticipated skills needs. Going further, it maps a path for prioritising changes to training courses and skills system required in the sub-region to help ensure post-16 skills and technical education is more responsive to local labour market needs.
Compiled by independent research agency, Institute for Employment Studies (IES), Local London’s ‘Mind the Skills Gap’ plan forms one of the four sub-regional annexes to the pan-London Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) developed by Business LDN and approved by the Secretary of State for Education in August 2023.
This deep dive into the skills needs in this part of London revealed five priority sectors: Construction and engineering, Digital and creative, Health and social care, Manufacturing, Distribution and logistics, and highlighting eight cross-cutting themes including green and digital skills.
Green skills – an exciting future
The number of green jobs in the Local London sub-region is projected to nearly double between 2020 and 2030, reaching 61,000 jobs, and then nearly double again to 110,000 jobs in 2050.
Addressing the digital divide
Digital skills was a recurring theme and training is required at all levels to meet the current and future needs of employers, from being able to apply for jobs to specific job-related needs.
Fifteen actionable priorities round out the plan for improving the skills landscape. Employers, training providers and other stakeholders are invited to engage with the implementation of the plan to ensure recommendations continue to be employer-driven.
Cllr Baroness O’Neill of Bexley OBE, Chairman of Local London and Leader of London Borough of Bexley said “This employer-led approach has identified real-life skills needs and the key changes required to make local training provision responsive to market needs.
Of course, this plan will not solve every issue within the skills system, which is why, at this stage, we are focussed upon specific priority sectors and cross-cutting themes. But this is more than just a report, it is the beginning of the process, a process that will evolve in response to an evolving skills market.
Mind the Skills Gap – the Local Skills Improvement Plan for our sub-region – is a fantastic opportunity to align training to meet the needs and priorities of employers in our nine member boroughs, to help more employers to fill their skills gaps and more Londoners into work and support growth in our sub-region.”
Local London will be hosting a free online event on Thursday 14 September 12:30-2pm to share Mind the Skills Gap – our annex to London’s Local Skills Improvement Plan. Experts will lead discussions on the report’s findings as well as next steps and opportunities for employers and stakeholders to be involved in tackling skills gaps in this part of London.
Read the report
⇒ Read Mind the Skills Gap – Our employer-led plan for improving skills and training in our boroughs. An Annex to London’s Local Skills Improvement Plan.
To be involved in developing and implementing the LSIP for Local London contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Notes to editor:
Local London is one of London’s four sub-regional partnerships, delivering programmes and advocating for its member boroughs where a neither London-wide nor borough-level approach is appropriate.
Local London’s nine member Boroughs are: Barking and Dagenham, Bexley, Bromley, Enfield, Greenwich, Havering, Newham, Redbridge and Waltham Forest. Working together, our boroughs have a stronger voice on common issues.
Commissioned by Government, the pan-London Local Skills Improvement Plan delivered by BusinessLDN and incorporating plans for each of London’s four sub-regions was approved by the Secretary of State in line with the approval criteria set out in the Skills and Post-16 Education Act 2022, and in accordance with the LSIP statutory guidance.
‘Mind the Skills Gap’ covers the priority needs and recommendations for our nine boroughs and forms part of the pan-London Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP).
Research undertaken by IES (Institute for Employment Studies) on behalf of Local London found that 27% of Local London employers reporting existing gaps in skills and capacity in their workforce and 70% of those with hard-to-fill vacancies attributing that difficulty to skills shortages.
The picture is different when considering London as a whole, but shows that skills shortage are a common issue for employers, although the priority sectors differ across the Capital. According to BusinessLDN, a survey of more than 1,000 London business leaders and HR managers, carried out by Survation, found that three-quarters of firms (77%) are reporting open vacancies and of those two-thirds (65%) are struggling to fill them. It found the biggest challenge to recruitment is a low number of suitable applicants with the required skills, cited as a problem by 57% of firms.
Green skills – an exciting future
Research by WPI Economics suggests that the number of green jobs in the Local London sub-region is projected to nearly double between 2020 and 2030, reaching 61,000 jobs, and then nearly double again to 110,000 jobs in 2050. Even with some jobs lost through the transition to net zero, there would be a projected increase in net jobs of 7,000 by 2030, with opportunities created through green construction, the Thames Estuary hydrogen ecosystem and moving more light freight on the Thames.
Joining up with this, the Green Academies Partnership – a group of colleges under the Local London Green Jobs and Skills Partnership – has begun reshaping their teaching and training and updating update their facilities in preparation for employers’ recommendations made in this local skills improvement plan.
Addressing the digital divide
Digital skills was a recurring theme and training is required at all levels to meet the current and future needs of employers, from being able to apply for jobs to specific job-related needs. Employers in health and social care were much more likely than other sectors to report computer literacy and basic IT skills shortages.
Findings recognise that some people would prefer to learn face-to-face or need o because they don’t have the digital skills to support online learning. Whilst others may prefer online learning, especially as it may fit better with their working pattern or other constraints.
Employers called attention to the specific needs in advanced digital training around cyber security, data analytics, and AI, with the health and digital sectors having particular demands for people with advanced digital skills.
The sub-region’s thriving creative sector will require people with high digital literacy driven by the Thames Estuary Production Corridor, film studios in Barking and Dagenham (which will create around 1,800 jobs), Troubadour Meridian Water Studios in Enfield, and creative industry developments in Bexley, Silvertown and Woolwich.
ESOL – a skills need cutting across all sectors
Some boroughs in Local London have very high population born outside the UK (54% in Newham, over 40% in Barking and Dagenham, Enfield and Redbridge). ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) is in high demand at some further and adult education colleges (e.g. 50% of all learners at Newham College) and there are difficulties getting enough teachers. ‘Mind the Skills Gap’ highlights new recruitment solutions including training unemployed people to be ESOL tutors – an idea being piloted in West London – and recommends colleges develop ‘ESOL for work’ courses tailored to help people find roles in different sectors such as construction trades, textiles manufacturing and health/care.
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