By Marcus Leach

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has called on the capital's boroughs and public sector bodies to use their huge buying power to create as many jobs, apprenticeship and skills training opportunities as possible.

Since April 2009 the Mayor has led the way in creating employment opportunities via the Greater London Authority (GLA) group's £8 billion procurement programme, which has helped to create more than 2,000 jobs and over 1,800 apprenticeships for workless Londoners.

Since the award winning programme started the GLA, where appropriate, has required conditions be inserted into contracts that require suppliers in its supply chain to create jobs and training opportunities for Londoners.

The policy has been such a success that the Mayor wants it to act as an exemplar for 'responsible procurement' in the public sector and is investing a further £1 million in the programme with the aim of delivering a further 1,800 jobs and over 2,000 new apprenticeships by 2015.

With unemployment figures again showing the jobs picture remains bleak across the country, the Mayor wants to see all public sector organisations - including central and local government and the National Health Service — following the GLA’s lead of promoting the creation of apprenticeships and other workplace training through their own supply chains to improve the long term job prospects for unemployed Londoners.

The Mayor, working with the National Apprenticeship Service, is already extending the current marketing campaign to boost the number of apprenticeships in London from the 40,000 created in the past year to 100,000 by the end of 2012.

"It's clear that the unemployment picture is gloomy but there are many things we can do to ensure Londoners and particularly our young people are helped into training and work. As we have realised at City Hall the public sector has huge spending clout and the potential to lever thousands of jobs, training and apprenticeship opportunities," the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said.

“Whether it’s a tube station upgrade, building new homes or maintenance in a hospital or school, contracts with suppliers must encourage the hiring of local people and the creation of apprenticeships. I urge the public sector to follow our lead and look at how they can play their part working with their suppliers to tackle unemployment and boost skills in the capital.”

Recent examples of where the GLA has worked with suppliers to secure employment opportunities for Londoners include cleaning company Initial Transport Services, which has recruited 377 unemployed people and enrolled 45 people on to apprenticeships through Transport for London’s ‘Total Purchased Services’ contract.

Services company Serco, meanwhile, has also shown real commitment through the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme where 136 previously unemployed people have found jobs and 24 have enrolled on apprenticeships.

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