Skills in South London

High levels of education attainment and 55% of our working age population educated to degree level

94,800 working age people have no or low qualifications (12.5%)

1 in 5 working age people earn below the London Living Wage


Securing the skills to support residents into sustainable employment and to support the growth aspirations of existing and future businesses in South London is a key priority for SLP.

While South London has higher levels of skills (55% degree level+) and higher levels of employment (77.5%) than the London averages skills are a priority because:

  • we want to raise the bar further to increase higher levels of skills to enable all our residents to find sustainable jobs and fulfil their potential;
  • we recognise that the modern job world and later retirement make ongoing skills development and reskilling throughout people’s careers increasingly important;
  • some of our residents with lower skills are missing out economically – with existing pockets of deprivation, higher levels of unemployment and NEETs;

Skills are key to supporting economic growth in our area – and particularly higher end economic growth, to improve the average earnings of those employed in our area (£28,102 compared to London £33,747).

There are a range of ways in which we believe SLP boroughs can collectively make a difference on outcomes for residents and employers:

1. Devolution – from 2019/20 responsibility for commissioning the Adult Education Budget for 19+ years will be devolved to the Mayor of London and we want to work with him to ensure that the way this is done helps to deliver the skills offer and support to meet South London’s needs.  Read more about this here;

2. Building a South London skills system – building collaboration between borough, employers, providers and other stakeholders to better understand and be able to meet skills needs to support our jobs and economic growth, and provide pathways into sustainable employment and opportunities for progression for residents.

In February 2018, we published Skills for South Londoners, the SLP’s skills strategy.


While employment levels are currently high in South London, as in many parts of the capital, some of our residents are still not finding their way into sustainable employment.  Individual boroughs take a range of local actions to support people to prepare for and get jobs.

Sub-regionally, we are working together to deliver the Work & Health Programme, to support people with more complex needs into sustainable work. This national programme has been devolved in London to be commissioned and delivered through sub-regional partnerships.  Find out more about our programme here.