London mayoral candidate Tessa Jowell pledges new ‘gold standard’ apprenticeships

A new ‘gold standard’ apprenticeship’ to train thousands of young Londoners to build homes for the city has been proposed by Dame Tessa Jowell.

The scheme funded through the new levy will focus on traditional apprenticeships and qualifications to fill the “chronic skill shortages holding our city back.”

Recent statistics show that seven in 10 apprenticeships in London go to those already in employment. While 44 per cent of places go to over-25s rather than youngsters.

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Jowell said the current system for apprenticeships was failing young people and not addressing the current skills crisis.

“London desperately needs a new generation of skilled workers to build the homes we need and power our growing industries, yet instead of giving young people the training they need to get on we are allowing their potential to waste away. Our city of opportunity means nothing if you are young and ambitious but can’t get your foot in the door.”

The scheme would only provide public funding for apprenticeships that meet key quality standards, and give under-25s the employment opportunity to achieve a recognised qualification at Level 3 or better.  

However, she would demand the devolution of the apprenticeship levy to give young people the skills they need to get the tech jobs of the future.

Latest figures show that only the North East has fewer apprenticeship programme starts in 2013/14 than London.

Research from Demos, Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank, suggests that the capital would have an extra 30,000 apprenticeships if it kept pace with the rest of the country.

The former Olympics minister said the key priorities were construction and tech as these sectors were vital to the economic power of London. An additional 48,370 construction workers were needed to supply the demand for homes in London.

Despite 25,000 tech jobs being created every year, only 375 young Londoners took computing A-Level and just 2,400 students chose a technology specific course in further education.

“If I’m elected Mayor I’ll establish One London Apprenticeships – to give real quality training worthy of the name to our young people and help fill the skills shortages that are holding our city back.”

“Every Londoner must have the chance to fulfil their potential. Yet when it comes to helping our young people in to work we’re not just falling behind our international competitors, we are trailing the rest of the UK as well.”


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