Meeting future skills needs in central London – the Local Skills Improvement Fund  

Meeting future skills needs in central London – the Local Skills Improvement Fund  

Central London has a dynamic economy. However too many businesses struggle to access the skills they need, and too many residents lack the skills they need to access decent work.  

This year, Central London Forward worked with dozens of employers in the sub-region to develop a Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) for central London. LSIPs aim to articulate employer skills needs in a local area, and set out the changes needed to the post-16 technical skills system to better meet those needs.  

Two of the biggest skills needs we heard about were digital skills, and green skills 

Again and again, we heard that employers in central London struggled to recruit workers with the digital skills they needed. Basic digital skills were seen as being increasingly vital for most roles, as digital technology permeated more industries. At the more advanced level, many employers across sectors said they needed skills like coding, data analytics, cyber-security and AI. 

Employers also told us that green skills were increasingly important as they sought to reduce emissions. There is growing demand for a variety of roles, from insulation technicians and heat pump installation for retrofitting, and electric vehicle charge point installation. 

Upskilling workers in these areas will be vital to addressing employer skills shortages in central London capital.  

We’ve been working with a partnership of 16 colleges and education providers – led by New City College – to develop a plan for investing £6.7m of Local Skills Improvement Fund (LSIF) locally. This DfE fund aims to support local further education providers to respond collectively to the skills needs identified in the Local Skills Improvement Plans, from developing new courses, and investing in equipment to upskilling tutors. 

We’re delighted that the central London LSIF has been signed off by the Department for Education. The plan focuses on green skills and digital skills, including: 

  • creating new low carbon learning spaces; 
  • building a suite of immersive classrooms for remote learning; 
  • installing a network of creative industries skills hubs.  

In addition, the partnership will work with employers to create a Level 3-5 digital and green curriculum which responds to skills shortages in their workforce and widens access to under-represented groups and hard to reach learners.  

The LSIF is split across this year and next year, with a mix of revenue and capital funding. 

We are excited to be working with New City College and the other providers on this. We’re also continuing to work with employers, providers and local authority partners on stage 2 of the Local Skills Improvement Plan. This focuses on implementing the recommendations we set out in the plan earlier this year. 

We look forward to seeing the impact of this work for learners and employers; addressing employer skills gaps and get more Londoners into high quality work.

If you are interested in finding out more, please get intouch. 

Aleyna Prokudina is a Policy Officer at Central London Forward