At a time of rising unemployment, and with Brexit and automation on the horizon, London can no longer afford to neglect vocational training. How is further education currently meeting the needs of London and Londoners?
Further education has a vital role to play in supporting Londoners affected by job losses, and young people entering the labour market for the first time. The city’s most disadvantaged citizens, who struggled to secure fulfilling employment before the COVID-19 pandemic, are likely to find themselves even further away from it.
Brexit may also exacerbate skills shortages in coming years, particularly in London where up to 30 per cent of workers in some sectors come from other European countries. Automation is also set to disrupt employment and skills over the longer term, requiring adaptable and responsive skills provision throughout workers’ lives. London’s colleges, and their vocational education role, are essential in meeting these challenges and enabling inclusive growth in London.
But we know surprisingly little about what type and level of training are being
provided in London, and how well they are meeting the needs of London’s businesses and citizens today or helping them gear up for the future.
The Mayor of London took over adult education funding from September 2019 and so the role of London’s 25 further education colleges is set to come under the spotlight as never before. This research project looked at the provision of further education and training in London, and how this might need to develop to respond to London’s current and future needs. The project included:
- A review of London wide and college specific data on current provision of
further education, and employers’ skills needs;
- An assessment of the potential implications of Brexit, automation and other factors on the types of vocational education provision needed;
- Identification of policy implications and strategic questions for consideration by colleges, the Mayor and government, including for future data collection.