Today I had a rewarding — and great fun — experience of seeing what happens when business comes together connecting our capital’s young people with the full range of life-changing, diverse career opportunities on offer. Skills London is one of the highlights of the London First calendar – and, for me, it’s a truly inspirational occasion.
The Mayor of London officially opened this year’s event, announcing £1.3 million in funding to help businesses create 2,000 new apprenticeships.
The one thing I see in common across the capital’s boardrooms is a commitment to skills. That commitment was brought to life in the 200 stands across the Excel centre with so much creativity, from virtual reality tours, live chef demonstrations to crime scene investigations.
The event captures the huge range of possibilities our young people have today, but also the incredibly fast changing world of work. I’m proud to see how business is stepping up to prepare tomorrow’s workforce for those changing needs.
There’s an abundance of schemes out there to inspire our young people – from Heathrow’s Employment and Skills academy to the EY Foundation’s School to Work initiative. My own daughter has just enrolled with Code First: Girls – a free initiative that wants to teach 20,000 young women how to code by the end of 2020.
Whilst we were delighted to see the Chancellor Philip Hammond took on board three of our Skills Commission recommendations for improving the apprenticeship levy we know there’s more work to do to get London pulling together on skills.
London First is in discussions to create a new user-friendly platform that will help young Londoners navigate the world of work and connect employers, careers advisers, parents and carers. We are talking to the GLA and the Careers and Enterprise Company to take this idea forward.
Our ambition is to sustain a vibrant London economy which will create jobs for the future for all our young people.
Finally, I want to thank you our incredibly generous sponsors: Deloitte, Tesco, EY, Amazon, AOC, Bosch, CiTB, Edwardian Hotels London and Heathrow. Without them none of this would be possible. Roll on Skills London 2019!
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