London Enterprise Panel Skills Inquiry

London Enterprise Panel Skills Inquiry

The London Enterprise Panel (LEP) Employment and Skills Working Group has published SQW’s evidence for its Skills Inquiry to shape its devolution ‘asks and offers’ for Government, and also to inform the LEP’s Further Education (FE) Capital Steering Group and forthcoming local area review of post-16 education and training institutions.

Through secondary analysis of Office for National Statistics and UK Commission for Employment Skills data, we identified nine high growth and high volume employment sectors which together account for 80% of employment in London and 90% of jobs growth since 2009, and are expected to contribute significantly to future employment in the capital. Secondary analysis of Skills Funding Agency Individualised Record data showed the scale of London FE colleges’ response to growing demand for employability skills at Level 2 and below, which accounted for 810,000 learner starts across all providers in 2013/14 (more than two thirds of all non-apprenticeship starts).

Our online survey of all 37 London FE colleges revealed they expect to see continuing growth in learner starts in the Preparation for Life and Work Sector Subject Area, with increasing numbers of young learners staying on to age 18 but lacking GCSE English and Maths. There were fewer learner starts at Level 3 and above – 161,000 across all providers in 2013/14 – but three quarters of these were associated with the nine London high growth and high volume employment sectors. Most (56%) of these higher-level learner starts were registered at London’s FE colleges, however than two thirds of all apprenticeship starts in 2013/14 were registered at Independent Learning Providers. Apprenticeships were concentrated in fewer Sector Subject Areas than non-apprenticeship provision, mainly health, business administration and law, and retail.

Finally, college survey respondents reported lack of employer engagement as the main barrier to increasing higher-level specialist technical and professional training, including bespoke employer training and higher apprenticeships.

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