By Marcus Leach

As the latest unemployment figures are published, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has announced that more than 2,000 people have landed jobs or been taken on as apprentices in the past year as a result of a concerted jobs and skills drive across the Greater London Authority (GLA) Group.

GLA figures show that between April 2010 and March 2011 more than 1,100 people joined apprenticeship schemes run by both the GLA Group and its contractors. With around 2,000 apprenticeship opportunities created since 2009, the Mayor is now well on track to meeting his target of creating 3,000 throughout the GLA group and its suppliers by 2012.

The Mayor has also ensured jobs for more than 1000 unemployed people in the past 12 months by requiring GLA suppliers to deliver job and training opportunities as part of the conditions of winning a contract.

The Mayor’s programme, which uses the power of public sector procurement to directly combat unemployment, is the first of its kind in the country and the GLA has been in discussions with national government and large businesses to encourage a wider adoption of the approach.

Early evidence suggests that of the unemployed who have obtained a job through the scheme, around 80 per cent are still in work a year later - an extremely high success rate.

The GLA’s unique model has been so successful that it has now been adopted by a wide range of large organisations delivering major employment generating projects, including Crossrail, the Olympic Delivery Authority and the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG).

“As we continue to steer our way out of recession we are doing all we can here at the GLA to deliver jobs and employment opportunities for the capital’s future generation," Johnson, said.

"While I am very proud of what we have achieved so far, we must push on and demonstrate that creating apprenticeships and jobs for Londoners in this way is good for business and for local people. Following our lead, other major employers can play their part in creating a similar ripple effect that can only benefit London's wider economy."

Apprenticeship and job opportunities have been found in a wide range of roles, from construction and engineering, to customer service, facilities management, administration, human resources and marketing.