Good morning everyone, and welcome to Skills London.
More than a third of the population in London was born outside the UK. We are home to 300 different languages, students from over 100 different nations, practitioners of many faiths.
Together, we make one fantastic city. The most connected in the world. The most exciting in the world. And that’s great – we should be proud of London.
But on skills, I wonder – are we doing enough to help the young talent in our capital find their dream jobs?
Are we giving them the experiences they need to embrace the future of working here?
At the moment, the sad truth is that almost no-one ends up building careers in fields that they haven’t seen or heard about themselves, first-hand.
I don’t want to live in a London where your future is dictated by your past.
That’s where Skills London comes in.
Bringing together schools, businesses, members of London First … and, most importantly 35,000 young people from across London’s Boroughs, joining us from Stratford in the east, through to Ealing in the west.
The opportunities on offer here today, for employers and for those young people, are potentially life-changing.
And yet, Skills London can only ever be a beginning, not an end point.
If we, as a country, really want young people to succeed, then we need to back them all the time.
First, by making sure we’re providing the right information. Our research shows young people still don’t get the careers advice they want, or enough experience of work to inform their choices.
So, we need to get more businesses, from diverse sectors, into schools … businesses who know what they’re talking about and can share real insight and opportunities.
Second, we must provide decent jobs. Jobs that are rewarding and interesting. Jobs that pay well and have potential – for promotion, development or flexible working. Jobs that people want, rather than tolerate.
Third, we must make apprenticeships work better. We need a mechanism that makes the levy as easy as possible to spend … we need better guidance … and we need to make sure apprenticeships are held in the same esteem as academic options. From hospitality through to carpentry, why not find out what’s on offer today?
Fourth, we, my generation, can’t slam the door on young people who want to work overseas. We run the risk of literally denying the next generation the opportunities that we had.
The next government needs to get a grip and sort a Brexit that in no way diminishes the right of young people to work wherever they choose, whenever they want.
And fifth, a bit of an overarching one: let’s come together. As employers, as educators, as charities, as legislators, as unions, as students and trainees, as industry bodies.
The world of work will be largely unrecognisable within our lifetimes. So, we need to design training, workplaces, jobs and skills suitable for the fourth industrial revolution.
Talk to me, or to others here, to find out how we can start to do that. How we as businesses, can create new opportunities for the next generation.
Starting with the many young, talented people here.
35,000 future CEOs, analysts, lawyers, head chefs, brick layers, dog groomers, head teachers, leaders.
And if you’re one of those young people, there are 55,000 opportunities on offer.
What a fantastic chance to find your future! For employers and young people alike. Grab it with both hands and make the most of it.
Thanks, and have a great afternoon.
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Our members include over 200 of the capital’s leading employers across a wide range of sectors, with a common commitment to our capital.