London mayor hopeful pledges ‘gold standard’ apprenticeship scheme

Dame Tessa Jowell, a former Labour party MP, has promised to create a new ‘gold standard’ for apprenticeships in London if she is elected mayor.

Jowell intends to fund her gold standard scheme through the apprenticeship levy that will be enforced upon all large businesses in the UK, a tax that was pushed forward by Chancellor George Osborne during the summer budget.

The mayoral candidate hopes to create a scheme that will encourage school leavers to study ‘traditional apprenticeships’ to fill the ‘‘chronic skill shortages holding our city back.’’

Jowell intends to focus on construction and technology apprenticeships as the industries are both ‘vital to the economic power of London.’

With an impressive 25,000 technology apprenticeships being created every year, an incredibly small amount of places (375) are awarded to London’s future workers.

‘‘If I’m elected Mayor I’ll establish One London Apprenticeships – to give real quality training worthy of the name to our young people and help fill the skills shortages that are holding our city back,’’ stated Jowell.

‘‘Every Londoner must have the chance to fulfil their potential. Yet when it comes to helping our young people in to work we’re not just falling behind our international competitors, we are trailing the rest of the UK as well.’’

Jowell has emphasised the desperate need for London to hire more apprentices in order to maintain London as one of the best cities in the world.

Laying out her plans to ensure this gold standard, it becomes apparent that her scheme would only provide funding to those who meet key quality standards, but hopes to give under-25s an opportunity to gain a Level 3 qualification or higher.

If elected as mayor, Jowell would call for the devolution of the apprenticeship levy to help a greater number of Britain’s unemployed find work.

Recent statistics have shown that young recruits in the capital are underserved when it comes to employment, with seven in ten apprenticeships in London going to those already in employment.

‘‘London desperately needs a new generation of skilled workers to build the homes we need and power our growing industries, yet instead of giving young people the training they need to get on we are allowing their potential to waste away.’’

‘‘Our city of opportunity means nothing if you are young and ambitious but can’t get your foot in the door.’’

The former Dulwich and West Norwood MP, who also served as Olympics Minister, needs to overcome stiff competition to become the Labour’s primary mayoral candidate.

Other Labour party candidates hoping to be mayor include former shadow health minister Diane Abbot, shadow Lord Chancellor Sadiq Khan and David Lammy, who previously served as universities minister.  The mayoral election is taking place on the 6th May 2016.