London has a dynamic skills system which drives an economy that generates 22% of UK GDP and contributes £34 billion in revenues to the exchequer each year. The continuing success of the London economy will be vital to secure our collective economic growth and future prosperity.
The UK is facing many challenges, from our lagging productivity levels to the uncertainty posed by Brexit. London benefits greatly from significant international investment and a supply of skilled labour from across the EU; for the Capitals post-Brexit skills system to succeed, Government, industry and education providers will need to work collaboratively, to foster a system that extends opportunity, improves social mobility and generates the skills that employers need.
Further education colleges play a key role in working to realise this vision. It is evident that recent initiatives including the Government’s Industrial Strategy; the creation of Institutes of Technology; the London Mayors Skills for London Strategy and devolution, all point towards the indispensable role of FE colleges to deliver the skills that the London economy needs.
Colleges need to build on the things they already do well: the focus on higher level skills, investment in industry standard equipment, strong community links— but also reflect on where things need to change. Colleges will need to lead a transformation to ensure that provision is better aligned with local economic priorities and is flexible enough to respond to change.
To do this colleges will need to listen to business, understand their requirements and work collaboratively and creatively to transform skills in London.
The partnership brings together Chief Executives and Principals from the largest colleges in the FE sector, with geographical coverage across 22 of the 32 London boroughs and a combined student population of over 150,000. The group has been created to generate new ideas and to work collaboratively with industry and Government.
This group gives a voice to London's leading FE Chief Executives and Principals— by collaborating they can:
• Engage with key industry sectors
• Effectively influence pan-London policy.
• Collectively develop solutions to support technical & professional education across London
There are great challenges for the London skills system to confront, but by leveraging the combined expertise of the Capitals leading FE minds, and by working in partnership with Government and industry, the potential to transform the London skills system is real and could have a lasting impact for years to come.