Local unemployment in West London remains double pre-pandemic levels, yet businesses are struggling to find the staff they need. However, businesses in West London are now set to benefit from a Department for Education funded initiative launched this week that seeks to address the skills shortages that are stopping business growth in West London by helping local residents match their skills to available jobs.
The London Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) launched this week is an ambitious plan to tackle skills shortages, address inequality and boost labour market inclusion in London. West London Alliance and West London Business have simultaneously launched the West London Annex to the LSIP after consulting with West London employers, training providers and intermediaries over the last year. Both organisations are now working with West London businesses in key sectors to implement the bold recommendations in the Plan and Annex, in order to change West London’s employment landscape for the better.
The West London LSIP roadmap has four workstreams:
- Supporting more residents into good jobs
- People – building skills system capacity to deliver
- Perceptions, pathways and collaborative infrastructure
- Aligning funding of provision with local need
Andrew Dakers, Chief Executive of West London Business, explains: “West London Business is wholly supportive of today’s launch of the ambitious London Local Skills Improvement Plan. West London Business has worked in partnership with West London Alliance to develop the West London annex to London’s Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP). The LSIP sets out how all our partners in Further Education, Higher Education and Independent Training Providers, must work together to ensure that technical & vocational training better matches the needs of local employers. The West London findings are supported by evidence gathered from hundreds of employers and key sector trade bodies. The LSIP report’s recommendations particularly highlight the need for new initiatives to improve collaboration in three sectors: food manufacturing; retail & wholesale; and transport & logistics.“
David Francis, Director of West London Alliance, added: “We are pleased to be publishing West London’s contribution to London’s Local Skills Improvement Plan. The report and annex are a clear basis for working together to deliver the skills that the West London economy needs. In carrying out this work, we have deepened the partnerships – between employers, skills providers and local government – which are vital to our shared goals of matching skills provision with employer demand. We look forward to building on this, continuing to work together to make West London a place where residents have the skills to access good local jobs and to progress and grow, and where employers can recruit from a skilled local labour force and increase their productivity.“
Skills shortages are a drag on London’s economy and put the capital’s position as a world leading city at risk. A survey of more than 1,000 London business leaders and HR managers conducted earlier this year by the four groups developing the LSIP found that three-quarters of firms (77%) were reporting open vacancies and of those two-thirds (65%) were struggling to fill them. More than half (57%) cited a low number of suitable applicants with the required skills as the biggest challenge to recruitment.