This policy prospectus is aimed squarely at one objective: to ensure more Londoners of all ages have the opportunity to succeed as an apprentice. There is a very good story to tell – over the past two years the number of apprentice’s in London has increased substantially across all ages despite the tough economic conditions.
This hasn’t happened by accident. Government is very supportive, the apprenticeship framework has been strengthened, and the overall level of public funding increased. The current London Mayor has championed Apprenticeships. Indeed all the main political parties support apprenticeships – so retaining this consensus is important. Businesses of all types invest in employing apprentices and enjoy the benefits of improved productivity and profitability.
Central to this success in London has been the role of training providers – a mix of private companies, charities, and Colleges of Further Education. We have made the difference by converting the aspiration of public policy into tangible success. Our approach is to constantly strive for better quality delivery as evidenced by a record number of people successfully completing their Apprenticeship. A further measure of our collective improvement can be seen by the good Ofsted inspection grades awarded over the past two years for many of London’s independent providers.
These are very positive signs – so this prospectus is designed to offer a ‘direction of travel’ to influence public policy as we continue to popularise apprenticeships as a mainstream option for all Londoners who want a job with training.
We believe that more Apprenticeships are needed – in part because London’s resident population is growing, but also to reflect the size and scale of the London economy. We unashamedly emphasise the central importance that business and employers have in generating the demand for labour.
Apprenticeships are a compelling offer particularly for a young person. They represent the opportunity to gain qualifications in the workplace, earn a salary, and by the age of 21 have up to 5 years experience of the world of work. An Apprenticeship offers a combination of earning and learning that lays the foundation for a successful career.
The Mayoral election in 2012 is a unique opportunity to build consensus and momentum for increasing the number and type of Apprenticeships here in London. We look to a future beyond the Olympic Games where the combined benefit of being employed and engaged in learning can be a life changing outcome for any person living in London today.