Work and wellbeing at the heart of south London’s skills strategy

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The South London Partnership launched its skills strategy 'Skills for South Londoners' today in Kingston.

High levels of skills, employment and entrepreneurship are characteristic of this part of London – comprising the boroughs of Croydon, Kingston upon Thames, Merton, Richmond upon Thames and Sutton – that contributes £28 billion a year to the UK economy.  Longstanding strengths in business administration, health, professional scientific and technical, retail and education sectors, have in recent years been supplemented by significant growth in high tech and creative sectors.

But behind these positive headlines, there are still challenges: over 94,000 people have no or low skills, and one in five working age residents earns below the London Living Wage.  And the world of work is changing fast – with digitisation and automation but two emerging trends – there are challenges and opportunities ahead.

The South London Partnership boroughs are committed to working together and with partners in business and colleges to build a more responsive skills system, with the twin goals of:

  • equipping our young people and all our residents with relevant skills, versatility, adaptability and resilience to secure sustainable employment and support their wider wellbeing throughout their lives; and
  • supporting the growth and productivity of the sub-regional economy, ensuring that existing and future employers can access a ready pool of suitably qualified, resilient workers and can secure learning and training to support their workforce and business development.

The Skills for South Londoners Strategy builds on an evidence base of data and discussion with employers and skills providers.  It notes the opportunities to make changes to the technical and vocational skills system in London with the devolution of the Adult Education Budget to the Mayor from 2019, in which the South London Partnership will play an active role to ensure that the changes better meet the needs of our residents and businesses.

The strategy identifies some early priorities for action, in the light of the current skills issues in South London including: strengthening careers information and guidance, shaping more effective in-work training for those on low pay, strengthening basic digital skills for all, increasing apprenticeships and securing the skills to support our burgeoning tech sector.

Download the Skills for South Londoners strategy here.