Residents across five south London boroughs will be given more opportunities to learn the skills needed to find better well-paid jobs, thanks to the launch of a new sub-regional group.

The South London Skills and Employment Board is made up of business leaders, training providers and colleges, voluntary sector and council representatives from Sutton, Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Richmond, which together form the South London Partnership (SLP). Board members will work to help businesses and other employers, encouraging them to invest in staff and supporting career progression through training while working with schools and colleges to provide the courses that will lead to better jobs in the local area and greater prosperity.

While many residents in the region already have high skills levels and good jobs, too many risk being left behind, with a knock-on effect on their income and their well-being.

Similar boards exist across London and the newly formed South London Skills and Employment Board will help to further understand employer and residents’ needs and the skills required to access good jobs.

Next year the government plans to devolve the budget for the commissioning of adult skills in the capital to the Mayor of London. Sub-regions will have a formal role in shaping how the budget is spent. The South London Skills & Employment Board will identify local priorities and feed these back to the London Mayor through the chair of the board, Cllr Ruth Dombey, SLP Skills Lead and Leader of Sutton Council.

Launching the new Skills and Employment Board, Cllr Dombey said: “Everyone, no matter what their personal and family circumstances, deserves the chance to gain the qualifications and skills needed to become employed and further their chosen career.

“By working together as a partnership, and with advice from experts in business and education, we can identify the priorities we need to focus on in South London and give our residents the best possible chance to prosper. This is an exciting opportunity for everyone living in South West London.”

The Adult Education Budget (AEB) funding is worth approximately £311 million in London and includes courses such as vocational training, Adult Community Learning (ACL) and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).

The five SLP boroughs nominated prospective board members providing a balance of representatives of key employers, priority sectors (tech/ ICT, construction, retail and hospitality, science, health and care), SMEs, business groups such as chambers of commerce and providers of skills in the sub-region, including colleges and private training providers.

For more information on SLP visit http://southlondonpartnership.co.uk or contact Priya Samuel, Skills & Employment Policy Officer.

Email: Priya.samuel@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk Telephone: 0208 831 6194.