Further education in London

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?

Job numbers in London are at historic highs and its unemployment rate is at an
historic low, but the city’s most disadvantaged citizens still struggle to secure fulfilling employment, especially given the high proportion of university graduates employed in London in ‘non graduate’ as well as ‘graduate’ roles.

Brexit may 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 courses are being
provided by London’s colleges, what outcomes they are achieving, how well they are meeting the needs of London’s businesses and citizens today, or how they are gearing 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 will scope out the provision of vocational training in London, and how this might need to develop to respond to London’s current and future needs. The project will include:

  • A review of London wide and college specific data on current provision of
    vocational education, outcomes achieved, 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.

The final paper will be published in June 2020.