Headlines: March 26th, 2003

The London Skills Council today launches a major new programme of action to tackle London’s chronic skills shortages in the public and private sectors. It has set up the London Framework for Regional Employment and Skills Action (FRESA) with the aim of ensuring that employment and skills programmes better serve the needs of Londoners and businesses in the capital. There are critical shortages of nurses and teachers throughout London.The NHS estimates it will need an extra 45,000 people over the next five years to fill job vacancies to meet London’s rising demand for services. A scheme jointly delivered by the NHS and the London Skills Commission aims to address this shortage through recruitment, training and retention programmes for health workers across Greater London.

An estimated 25% of all Londoners lack basic literacy and numeracy skills. 40% of employers say that a major reason that lower skill level vacancies remain unfilled is due to a lack of suitably qualified candidates. The problem has been intensified by the shortage of basic skills tutors. FRESA will develop recruitment and retention measures to improve the supply of tutors.

The London Skills Commission is a strategic alliance of key London organizations from the public, private and voluntary sectors, including the London Development Agency, London Learning and Skills Councils, the CBI, the London Voluntary Sector Training Consortium, Jobcentre Plus, the Greater London Authority, Higher Education representatives and the TUC.