Boris Johnson has been urged to do more to promote apprenticeships amid concerns that he’ll miss his goal of creating 250,000 new apprenticeships by the end of his Mayoralty.
A new London Assembly report published today welcomes the fact that 110,000 apprenticeships were started during the past two years but warns there would need to be a 19% year-on-year increase to achieve the Mayor’s target.
The report also warns that London is “lagging behind other regions in England when it comes to the number of apprenticeships” on offer.
Members of the Assembly’s Economy Committee want the Mayor to support a pan-London careers advice service which highlights apprenticeships to young people.
They also want him to commission a study into why the number of apprenticeships in some sectors, including retail and tourism, are below the London average and consider whether targeted assistance may be necessary to boost opportunities.
Committee member Stephen Knight AM said: “London has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the country, yet astonishingly London is falling behind the rest of the country when it comes to apprenticeships.
“The Mayor must use his power and influence to make sure London is not left behind in terms of skills and employment opportunities for young people. London should be investing in its future, if we are to remain the engine of the UK’s economy.”
Victor Farlie, Executive Chair of the London Work Based Learning Alliance, said: “The report is timely and gets to the heart of the issue – we don’t have enough apprentices in London.
“It offers the Mayor and London a clear way forward and we are keen to ensure we play our part in helping to support more businesses recruit and train apprentices.”
Responding to the report Deputy Mayor of London for business and enterprise, Kit Malthouse, said: “It is claptrap to claim that London is lagging behind other regions.
“Apprenticeship starts have increased at a faster rate in the capital than in any other UK region and more than 40,000 people now start an apprenticeship every year in London, which is more than double the number starting four years ago.
“We will continue to coordinate a massive amount of work and investment alongside the National Apprenticeships Service and employers, with the goal of delivering thousands more apprenticeships for young Londoners.”