Skills London 2015

  • By Selina Young

Skills London is the capital’s biggest jobs and careers event for young people. It took place at the ExCel Exhibition Centre on 13 and 14 November. London Councils attended to promote: the career opportunities available across the boroughs, particularly apprenticeships; and the ‘London Ambitions: Shaping a successful careers’ offer for all young Londoners, launched with the Mayor of London and London Enterprise Panel earlier this year. This briefing outlines our approach to promoting apprenticeships and London Ambitions at the event and beyond, and details some of London’s successes.

Overview

London Ambitions

London Councils is committed to bring together schools, colleges and businesses to ensure all young Londoners have the best chance of getting into a suitable career once they complete full-time education. That’s why earlier this year we published London Ambitions: Shaping a successful careers offer for all young Londoners in partnership with the Mayor of London and the London Enterprise Panel (LEP).

Following the launch of London Ambitions, London Councils identified Skills London as a major event where it would be possible to target a large audience of young Londoners, teachers, employers, important stakeholders and partners. Our presence and communications at Skills London 2015 was part of a detailed five-year plan of action to implement London Ambitions across the capital’s schools and colleges.

A key recommendation of London Ambitions is that all young people should have at least 100 hours experiences of the world of work by the age of 16. We promoted this key recommendation by working with exhibitors that offered work-related activities, knowledge and experiences to help young people keep a record of their experiences with London Ambitions stickers. A dozen key exhibitors handed out stickers to young people for them to collect in their Skills London event guide to support them with their option and careers work back at school.

A London Ambitions branded area featuring short talks from industry experts about routes into a number of careers took place across the two days. Our Industry Insight area was host to speakers from various industries from digital technology through to sport. London Ambitions was a featured session and London Councils also presented ‘induction’ talks for teachers, parents and carers on how to make the most of the event, ensuring their activities during the day linked in with aspects of London Ambitions.

London Councils and borough opportunities 

Skills London 2015 gave London Councils the opportunity to communicate with the capital’s biggest employers, as well as thousands of students, teachers, parents and carers. This year visitor figures for the event totaled 33,026.

Sponsorship of the Careers and Enterprise Zone ensured London Councils had a wide range of advertorial coverage in a large portion of the marketing materials Skills London produces before and during the event.

As a sponsor and exhibitor, our main aim was to get young Londoners thinking about their future options and careers. With this aim in mind, London Councils talked to hundreds of young people (and their teachers and parents) about careers in local government and the
benefits of the apprenticeship route to a good career. London’s councils are committed to creating opportunities for young Londoners and have created more than 7,000 apprenticeship opportunities since 2009.

London Councils’ exhibition stand was predominantly serviced by volunteer apprentices from across the boroughs. Our apprentice volunteers were able to provide relevant peer experiences and promote the wide-range of opportunities and experiences available in London’s councils.

To encourage young people to interact with volunteers at our stand, and to inspire delegates to think about their future careers, we hosted a London Councils ‘careers photobooth’ with props related to various roles available in the boroughs. The photobooth was successful in encouraging young people to visit our stand with more than 1,000 young people using the careers photobooth during the two days.

Photos from the booth were used to create a live job seekers map on our stand, which our volunteers used to great effect when discussing London local government opportunities with visitors. Our volunteers also used iPads to collect information, including opportunities young Londoners are looking for. More than 300 young people completed the online form and asked for their borough to keep them up-to-date with Apprenticeship and other job opportunities.

Volunteers also used the iPads to talk through the interactive job map on the London Councils website, which links through to all the job pages on the borough websites. The interactive map page was viewed more than 500 times over the course of the event.

To enhance our digital promotion of London Councils’ presence at the event we encouraged visitors and exhibitors to use the #100hours hashtag and follow our @LDNCareersOffer handle.

Commentary 

Skills London 2015 offered a significant opportunity to influence the careers landscape in London and promote London Ambitions. Our presence complemented the boroughs’ substantial commitment to creating opportunities for Londoners - with apprenticeships being one of the most easily accessible routes for young (post-16) Londoners.

Members will be interested to know that the boroughs have created approximately 1,500 apprenticeship opportunities in the last two years (this includes apprenticeships in councils, direct suppliers and apprenticeship training agencies) and are committed in continuing to increase this figure year-on-year.

The implementation of the London Ambitions Careers Offer continued at the London Councils Summit on 21 November where a London Ambitions stand enabled councillors to find out more about the careers offer. Members of the London Ambitions Senior Advisory Group were also represented on one of the Summit breakouts sessions which focussed on ‘Getting more young people into work’.

The ultimate aim for London Ambitions is to have every school and college in London signed up to and delivering on its key recommendations by 2020, namely:

• All young people have access to impartial, independent and personalised careers education, information, advice and guidance.

• At least 100 hours of experiences of the world of work for all young Londoners and a personalised digital portfolio.

• A publicised careers policy and careers curriculum in every secondary school and college.

• A governor with oversight for ensuring that their institution supports all students to relate their learning to careers and the world of work from an early age.

• Good use of up-to-date, user-friendly labour market intelligence and information.

• Contributing to and learning from ‘careers clusters’ across London.

• Using the London Ambitions Portal to support careers work.

Selina Young, Communications Officer