"Our key focus remains to ensure London is globally competitive, with a highly skilled workforce" commented London Mayor, Boris Johnson

London must boost the skills of its workforce to remain a competitive world city and fight its way out of recession. That is the key finding in the Mayor of London’s updated skills and employment strategy ‘From Recession to Recovery’, published today.

The plan sets out how the Mayor and the London Skills and Employment Board (LSEB) will continue to help Londoners and the capital’s businesses to tackle the impact of the recession and prepare for recovery in the capital.

It highlights how, to prepare for recovery and address the long term challenges London faces, the LSEB and its delivery partners must increase the supply of skills required to improve London’s competitiveness as a global city. It outlines the importance of tackling the high levels of worklessness and the significant number of people with no qualifications, or low skill levels in the capital.

The main focus of the strategy is on employers and simplifying the employment and skills system. From Recession to Recovery outlines three strategic aims for 2009 – 2014:

  • Working with employers to support them in developing their businesses and keeping London’s economy competitive to provide more job and skills opportunities
  • Supporting Londoners to improve their skills, job and advancement prospects through integrated employment support and training opportunities.
  • Creating a fully integrated, customer-focused skills and employment system to improve value for money and results for Londoners and the capital’s businesses.

The Mayor of London and Chair of the London Skills and Employment Board, Boris Johnson, said: “One of London’s key attributes is its people. Even though the capital has weathered the recession better than other UK regions, the past year of global economic turmoil has taken it’s toll upon London, its businesses and our people.

“Our key focus remains to ensure London is globally competitive, with a highly skilled workforce, whilst also tackling the problems of entrenched worklessness. This means continuing to update our strategy and draw on the experiences of all sectors. We will continue to reform the skills system so that all Londoners are made aware of the opportunities that are available and get that vital chance to share in the capital’s success”.

While the strategy outlines the Mayor and Board’s aims until 2014, it also sets short-term priorities to March 2011, designed to contribute to the achievement of LSEB’s strategic aims and complement the Mayor’s priorities. These include establishing a single employment and skills service offer for unemployed young people to help them find sustained work, and building a shared view of the future skills needs of London.

The strategy acknowledges progress made to date by delivery agencies such as the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), Jobcentre Plus (JCP), and the London Development Agency (LDA).  These include the rapid response to introduce initiatives to tackle the recession and producing a range of new services for employers and Londoners, including services for the newly unemployed and the Mayor prioritising internships, a new jobs portal and plans for Jobsfairs.

Vice-Chairman of the London Skills and Employment Board Harvey McGrath said:
“The LSEB’s goal of bringing delivery agencies together to ensure jobs and skills support in the capital is focused on the needs of businesses and on helping those looking for work has remained a priority, particularly in the challenging economic climate. Over the next 12 months we will foster initiatives such as the London Employer Accord, which identifies employers’ training needs and helps those out of work to meet the demand. Schemes such as this prove that strong, coordinated working relationships can make a significant difference to the lives of Londoners.” 

Also published today was the first London Skills and Employment Board Annual Report 2009, under the chairmanship of the Mayor. It outlines numerous case studies, which show how the LSEB’s work is bringing systemic change and benefiting services on the ground for Londoners and businesses.

To view “From Recession to Recovery” and the Annual Report please go to

Reaction from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation  

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation  has been in dialogue with the Mayor’s policy officials to underline the pivotal role that recruitment professionals can play within the ongoing debate on skills and jobs.  

Commenting on the London skills and employment strategy, REC’s Institute of Recruitment Professionals Regional Director in the South East, Cathy Richardson, said:

“Recruitment professionals are key partners in helping people get back to work and in informing both regional and national employment strategies. We are already seeing more agencies working in co-operation with Jobcentres on a local level and policy makers are looking to draw upon  the expertise and knowledge of recruitment professionals on the front line of the jobs market. The focus on employment and skills in London is being replicated across the country and IRP Directors will play a key role in taking forward the voice of recruiters on this issue”.

The London Mayor’s employment strategy includes a focus on the overall business environment in the capital. Commenting on the importance of support for businesses, Sam Strange, Director of the Business Support Unit within the REC Academy for Business, said:

“An important part of any employment strategy is to stimulate demand which is why we also need a specific focus on supporting employers. The provision of effective business support services is a key part of this and more can be done to actively promote these services to both new and established businesses. Keeping London’s economy competitive and demonstrating that London is a good place to do business is vital if the Mayor is serious about providing more job opportunities for Londoners.”