New bursary launched to help Londoners get back into work

by May 21, 2021Bursaries, Critical transition points, Funding, News

Created in response to the impact of the pandemic on London’s labour market, the new £50K London Bursary Skills fund aims to remove barriers to help Londoners quickly upskill and find work

Today, the City & Guilds Foundation – part of skills organisation City & Guilds Group –  has launched a new London Bursary skills fund of £50,000, aimed at helping those who need it most across the capital get the skills they need, fast.

Set up in response to the serious impact of the pandemic on London’s labour market – with London seeing the largest fall in jobs between September and December 2020, with a decrease of 60,000 jobs – the bursary will remove barriers to vital training for those who want to access training, but are unable to afford it. Bursary recipients will be able to access City & Guilds / ILM training courses, worth around £2,000 each, across a range of sectors – including construction, digital, health and social care, engineering and manufacturing, among others. 

Now open for applications, for UK residents in London over 18 years old experiencing genuine financial need, the bursary is designed to help individuals complete a course and get back into work post-pandemic. Almost all (92%) of previous City & Guilds Foundation bursary recipients have found employment within 6 months of completing their course.

In addition, from June 2021 City & Guilds Group will be offering 1,000 free digital credential upgrades for Londoners who complete their ‘Step into Digital Technologies’ course on FutureLearn, to encourage young people, especially, to access careers in the growing digital sector.  Along with Step Into courses for construction and social care, these courses form part of City & Guilds Group’s ‘Skills Bridges’ programme designed to help individuals who work in industries heavily impacted by Covid-19 to reskill and switch careers into growing industries or those facing skills shortages.

“With the capital being one of the hardest hit areas in the UK when it comes to employment, those people whose jobs and livelihoods have been impacted need encouragement, support and opportunity to get back into work – whether that’s in the same job, or a new one. That’s why we’ve launched our London Bursary fund, to contribute to a London levelling up agenda and help those most in need overcome the barriers to accessing new skills and jobs.”

Kirstie Donnelly MBE, CEO of City & Guilds Group

Focus on young people in London

  • With the April 2021 ONS unemployment statistics highlighting that young people have been hardest hit in terms of job losses – under-35s account 80% of the 813,000 jobs lost in the UK in the 12 months to March 2021, and 25-34 year olds account for around a quarter (24%) of cuts – new research from City & Guilds Group also reveals that young people in London are the most anxious about switching careers. 
  • The pandemic has impacted young people’s career trajectories, with over half (58%) of 25-34 year olds employed in London saying they have thought about or have started changing careers. 
  • For a fifth (21%) of these people, this is because the pandemic has fundamentally altered their current jobs. In contrast, only 11% of 25-34 year olds employed across the country reported that this is why they are considering changing careers.
  • When it comes to the barriers that could prevent them from switching careers into a new sector or industry, 24-34 year olds employed in London are the most anxious about money and a lack of knowledge about other jobs and sectors:
    • One in four (24%) said the cost of retraining would prevent them from switching careers, compared to 14% for London overall
    • 45% said salary of other careers would prevent them from switching careers, compared to 25% for London overall)

Our bursaries are designed to change people’s lives through skills

We recently caught up with London Bursary Recipient, Owen Porter who was awarded a bursary from the City & Guilds Foundation for an electrical qualification.

After completing university in London studying Film and Film Lighting, Owen went on to pursue a career in the media, working in various roles including lighting technician, studio technician, animation, and visual effects. Due to both the effects of COVID-19 and Brexit, the media industry came to a standstill in 2020/21 and finding work became increasingly difficult.

“During the first six months of lockdown I struggled with changes in my physical and mental health, but it gave me a lot of time to think about my current situation and what I could practically do when returning to work. I thought becoming an Electrician seemed like a good option due to my relevant skills in this area. Using the funding, I was able to apply for a level 2 and level 3 course in Commercial Installation which I started in February 2021.”

Health conditions meant that Owen could no longer sustain the hours required to work in media (the average day is 12 to 14 hours) so a career change was vital. Owen recognised the transferable skills he wanted to build on and utilise from his career in the lighting industry.

“I feel very lucky to have received the funding and look forward to starting my career as an electrician once I’ve completed the course. In the future I plan to do a master’s in electrical engineering, with an aim to eventually work in the construction industry. The grant helped me to feel more positive and enabled me to see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Owen Porter, London Bursary Recipient.

Find out more about our bursary programme.

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