Wednesday 19 August 2015 8:33 pm

London can be top of the pile for skills and tech: New York shows us how

Everyone in this city has their own story. Mine, like so many Londoners, is of someone whose parents moved here to make a better life for themselves and their family. And now, as my campaign picks up momentum, I’m fighting hard to become Labour’s candidate to be mayor of London. What an incredible honour. I owe it all to London. This city has given me amazing opportunities. But would the son of a bus driver be afforded the same life chances today? Sadly, I’m not so sure. We owe it to today’s young Londoners to change that reality. To ensure that they have the chance to succeed and fulfil their potential, we need to make certain that everyone is given the opportunity to gain the skills that London needs. Take my brother, for example. He had a fantastic apprenticeship to train as a car mechanic; now he runs his own successful business. Watching him go from strength to strength would convince anyone just how important a high quality apprenticeship can be to your career. On my journey as a candidate, I’ve met some inspirational people on the way. Visiting Google HQ, I met with Amali de Alwis, the chief executive of Code First: Girls. They are doing some fantastic work, training up young women and ensuring they get the skills they need to make an impact in the tech sector. Let’s make Amali’s job easier. That is why I am so excited about Skills for Londoners. Skills for Londoners is my vision to set up a working partnership between City Hall, business, local authorities, trade unions, schools, colleges and universities to plan for and meet London’s need for better skills and to extend opportunity. Learning from international examples, such as New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s Jobs for New Yorkers Taskforce and Tech Talent Pipeline, I’d get to work on tackling the skills gap straight away if I become mayor. And we must go further on apprenticeships for our young people. Through procurement powers, the New Homes Team and Transport for London, I’ll put apprenticeship creation at the centre of my agenda, working with local authorities to help them do the same. But there is only so much that City Hall can do alone. To achieve my vision of a revamped skills and tech sector, I’d fight to secure more powers for London through devolution of all skills and further education funding. With Skills for Londoners, renewed focus on apprenticeships and new powers won from Whitehall, I’d be able to make sure London is at the top of the pile when it comes to skills and tech. This agenda is good for businesses, providing them with a skilled workforce for future growth. And it is good for Londoners too, training them for a career in the sectors that will drive London’s economy in the years ahead. London’s jobs market has to be all about the future, not the past. De Blasio’s vision in New York has shown how my Skills for Londoners could really make a difference. Let’s get started. Sadiq Khan is MP for Tooting and is running to become Labour’s candidate for mayor of London.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.