- The Mayor will work with strategic partners to address low pay and, supported by his Skills for Londoners Taskforce, co-ordinate national, regional and local initiatives to promote inclusive access to training, skills and employment opportunities for all Londoners.
- Development proposals should seek to support employment, skills development, apprenticeships, and other education and training opportunities in both the construction and end-use phases, including through Section 106 obligations where appropriate. Boroughs should ensure these are implemented in ways that (a) enable trainees to complete their training and apprenticeships, (b) ensure the greatest level of take-up possible by Londoners of the training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities created and (c) increase the proportion of under-represented groups within the construction industry workforce. In partnership with the Mayor, boroughs are encouraged to consider cross-borough working to open up opportunities, including those created via Section 106 obligations, on a reciprocal basis, to residents from adjacent boroughs and across London.
London has a strong, dynamic, global economy, but despite the capital’s economic growth and prosperity, the employment rate has lagged behind the national average for three decades. More than 270,000 Londoners are unemployed, with particularly high rates of youth unemployment. Employment rates in London are consistently lower for those without any formal qualifications. London also has a growing problem of in-work poverty, associated with low-skilled low-paid work. Ensuring an effective and responsive skills system is critical to tackling these issues, enabling more Londoners to find and progress in work and support strategic and local regeneration.
Developers are often required to make employment and training opportunities in new developments available to local residents as part of Section 106 planning agreements. While there are examples of this approach working well, by ensuring that developers make a direct, positive contribution to the local communities in which they are working, the current model does not always succeed in enabling residents to complete their training, securing sustainable employment for local people or meeting the demand for construction skills.
Employment and training targets included in Section 106 agreements are often based on the number of new apprenticeship or training starts, rather than the meaningful completion of these. The often short-term nature of construction projects compared to the longer duration of apprenticeships mean that apprentices employed at the beginning of a project may not have finished their training by the time construction on site is completed. This means that once developments finish, apprentices may not be able to move with contractors to developments in different areas (because they too will have their own local labour requirements and requirements for new training and employment starts). They may therefore be unable to complete their training. In addition, local labour requirements can mean that contractors struggle to meet the demand for skills because they must source labour from a geographically-defined labour pool, where the required skills may not necessarily be available.
Cross-borough working, co-ordination and sharing of data on employment and training opportunities, together with a more uniform approach to the drafting of Section 106 obligations across the capital could help deliver more successful employment outcomes and ensure that the objectives in part B can be achieved. The GLA is keen to support this approach and, as recommended by the Mayor’s Homes for Londoners Construction Skills Sub-Group, will investigate how best to do this, recognising that there is a need to demonstrate that any new approach improves outcomes for employers, boroughs and residents. This new approach should provide more meaningful employment and training opportunities for residents across London, while recognising the importance of new developments for providing local employment opportunities. Successful implementation of this approach should ensure that employment and apprenticeship opportunities created by developments are taken up and completed by a greater number of Londoners.