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Learning to breathe new life in London

Huge regeneration projects in the pipeline in London present a major skills challenge for the capital's 55 further education and specialist colleges.

One redevelopment alone, the Thames Gateway project, will provide 300,000 new jobs and 140,000 new homes.

Jacqui Henderson, regional director for London of the Learning and Skills Council, sees her role as ensuring that local people benefit from the job opportunities, and that colleges are equipped todeliver necessary training.

"We have a role to play to make sure that people who live in the capital acquire the skills and qualifications they need to get jobs in these redevelopments," she said.

"There has been a feeling that local residents who don't have jobs have not benefited from redevelopment opportunities in the past and we want to make certain that this doesn't happen again."

The LSC's London East district has been given an additional pound;11 million through an Employer Training Pilot to prepare people for redevelopment jobs.

Employers are able to recoup a significant proportion of the money if they agree to paid release for workers to take on new learning, and will also be able to obtain full funding for the costs of the course.

The Thames Gateway project is Europe's largest and most ambitious regeneration initiative, extending from Stratford eastwards to Thurrock and Dartford.

London's Olympic bid for 2012 also centres on Stratford, and there are additional huge redevelopment projects at Heathrow's terminal five, and at Paddington and Kings Cross railway stations.

There is a flagship project to draw up a strategic plan of opportunities for people living in London to get training for construction skills and benefit from redevelopment projects.

Ms Henderson added: "We need to be clear about what the long-term requirements are, and what type of skills will be needed during each phase."

"There are significant labour market requirements in terms of construction and engineering."

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