Skills and employment
Successive CBI London business surveys have reported a continuing shortage of basic skills in the capital
It is a real concern that the unemployment rate in London is close to 10 per cent and particularly high among young people. This is not just a product of the recession. There were already structural problems in the employment market that will not simply go away with a return to growth, so we urgently need to improve London’s skills base.
We launched a major new report at the end of last year on reforming the educaation system to enable young people to be taught the skills needed to underpin the UK economy in the 21st century. Read the report, First Steps, here.
The Mayor's own education inquiry report was published last autumn and there is much common ground with the CBI's analysis, especially on bringing together schools, HEIs/FEIs and business to ensure training for future needs. We will be working with the Mayor's team to progress recommendations where we can.
Apprenticeships address skills gaps and help people into employment. We need bold targets to increase the numbers on schemes, broaden their appeal, and cut red tape to make them easier for businesses to provide.
Increasing apprenticeships has been a major initiative for the Mayor since 2010. It also chimes with the consistent view from CBI London business surveys that employers are willing to consider the provision of more apprenticeships. The mayor has been engaging with London business to increase the number of apprenticeships in the capital and we and the GLA have explored the barriers to greater take-up of apprenticeships.
We will continue our engagement with the GLA and others to provide a business focus for the debate and encourage more members to offer apprenticeships.
The immigration cap is of importance given London business's reliance on skilled migrants. Skilled migrants are an essential element of London's global competitiveness and one of the reasons for the capital's ability to attract investment.
The effects of a cap are highlighted in the December 2010 London business survey where it is reported that the temporary migration cap had already had an impact on nearly half of London businesses and over two-thirds of those recruiting globally fear the impact of the permanent cap will be negative.
The government has given priority in the new system to people entering the UK with a job offer, through Tier 2 of the existing points-based system.This will ensure that the migration system will remain demand-led and driven by the skills needs of UK employers. Most intra-company transfers will also be exempt from the cap, enabling firms with international operations to manage their global workforce effectively and ensuring that London and the UK remain attractive places to base new projects and investment.
We continue to monitor the impact of the cap.