Skills and employability

London is a thriving global city employing 20% of the nation’s workforce. Working with education institutions and businesses to ensure that more Londoners have access to the skills they and our economy need is key to the city's future growth.

This page looks at  how we are supporting skills and employability in London:

Why we invest in skills and employability

London has the most talented population in the world with a higher proportion of graduates than any other major city, underpinned by more world-leading educational institutions than anywhere else and an environment that attracts talented people from around the world.

Whilst standards of education in London’s schools and universities rank as some of the best in the world, the overall success of some of London’s further education colleges lags behind the rest of the country. Just over half of 16-18 year old learners in London’s colleges do not have Level 2 English and Maths.

To provide all Londoners with an opportunity to live up to their potential, the GLA funds and helps to deliver projects and programmes that improve skills and employability. Key vehicles for achieving this include the Further Education Capital fund and the European Social Fund, which are delivered by the GLA Regeneration team.

Supporting further education projects

The £158 million Further Education Capital (FEC) fund supports FE colleges and provides infrastructure to make sure London’s FE services are modernised, fit for purpose and able to adapt for the future. This includes making sure FE institutions are able to work in suitable buildings and are equipped with up-to-date equipment and machinery similar to that used by London’s businesses.

Research from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills found that the modest economic growth between 2011and 2015 was met by an unprecedented shortage of skills (and thus job vacancies left unfilled). In response the FEC fund also works to respond to market shortages of particular skills that are crucial to London’s economic growth by improving the education and training available; for example, the undersupply of construction and digital skills in London.

FEC is being invested in a range of innovative projects that address skills shortages, including:

  • Lambeth College: £22 million is being invested by the GLA to Lambeth College; this is for a project which will help address the skills shortage in construction. The project focuses on creating a new campus, training hotel, homes, new jobs and construction skills center at the heart of the Vauxhall Nine Elms regeneration area.
  • Ada, National College for Digital Skills: This new college will be a cutting-edge community of digital-thinkers, industry experts and leading tech companies, which together will use teaching methods rooted in the real world to help kick-start careers in the growing digital sector (e.g. in entering the games design industry, creating apps that change lives or building technologies that help grow industries). £18 million is being invested by the GLA into this project alongside investment from The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.
  • Hackney Community College: FEC provides supports to the growth innovative projects, such as the Hackney Open Tech Institute (HOTI) project by Hackney Community College which has a number of components to it. The GLA are investing £1 million into this project, which aims to showcase the wider innovation agenda through the creation of a digital apprentice centre, digital education centre, Ed tech incubator space and a ‘tech lab’.

The FEC fund helps to provide Londoners and businesses with the skilled workforce they need to grow and prosper, inspires young people and adults to maximise their potential, and supports an appropriately skilled, motivated and productive workforce to drive economic growth in London. The FEC fund also works to help implement the London Enterprise Panel’s (LEP) Jobs and Growth Plan.

Improving employment opportunities

The GLA have a strong track record in developing and commissioning skills and employability programmes through the European Social Fund (ESF) which works to improve employment opportunities across the EU. It helps raise standards of living and assists people to get better skills and better job prospects. The ESF also helps equip the workforce with the skills needed by business in a competitive global economy.

Further information on the previous ESF delivery and the current prorgamme and funding opportunities for the 2014-2020 London ESF CFO are available through the the GLA as a Co-Financing Organisation.


Find out more

Further information on the GLA's approach to skills and employability can be accessed through the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) Skills and Employment Working Group

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