Skip navigation
The Progressive Policy Think Tank

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announces launch of London Progression Collaboration to boost apprenticeships

New IPPR and Greater London Authority initiative to support apprenticeships in the capital signs up major employers

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan today announces the launch of the London Progression Collaboration - an initiative to boost apprenticeship opportunities for low-paid Londoners.

Watch Sadiq Khan launch the London Progression Collaboration here

The initiative, supported by J.P. Morgan, aims to support over 1,000 Londoners to progress from unemployment into work, and from low-paid low-skilled work into better quality, higher-paying jobs.

Large employers in the capital, including Pearson, City University and the London Boroughs of Hounslow, Camden and Croydon, have committed to transferring unspent apprenticeship levy funds to support the capital’s small businesses, using the London Progression Collaboration’s services. Their support will enable at least 30 SMEs in London’s hospitality, retail and construction sectors to offer apprenticeships to train new and existing staff.

The programme is also supported by London First, a business campaigning group, and the Confederation of British Industry.

The London Progression Collaboration has been developed following an IPPR feasibility study, which noted that despite London being one of the most economically competitive cities in the world, it is also home to high levels of in-work poverty. Almost 700,000 jobs in London (18%) pay less than the London Living Wage.

The feasibility study also revealed London’s poor rates of progression from low to mid skills levels. London performs worse on in-work progression than most other regions. Hundreds of thousands of Londoners are stuck in low-skill, low-paid jobs, with little chance of advancing in their careers, the report found.

Despite evidence showing that apprenticeships are a key way of progressing out of low paid work, London has the lowest level of apprenticeships starts per capita of any region in the UK – half the rate of the North-East.

As a result of the IPPR study and the opportunity that the apprenticeship levy presents, it was decided that action needed to be taken to reverse this trend by boosting apprenticeship starts and creating more opportunities to progress.

This innovative project is being delivered in collaboration with the Greater London Authority, and has the financial support of J.P. Morgan.

At an event timed to coincide with National Apprenticeships Week, deputy mayor for business Rajesh Agrawal will highlight the importance of apprenticeships to support the progression of low-skilled workers in the capital, as well as to meet the city’s skills needs.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said:

“Apprenticeships offer great opportunities for Londoners to skill up and fulfil their potential. That’s why, as Mayor, I’m committed to increasing both the number and quality of apprenticeships on offer in our city.

“As we mark National Apprenticeships Week, I’m proud to be launching the London Progression Collaboration, a new initiative to boost apprenticeship opportunities in our retail, hospitality and construction sectors.

“Working with the Institute for Public Policy Research and with financial support from J.P. Morgan, we’ll support apprenticeships which meet skills needs and benefit low-income Londoners.

“It’s great to see the first businesses getting involved, and I’m looking forward to many others following their lead.”

Anna Ambrose, Director of the London Progression Collaboration said:

The challenge of progression is a profound social and economic justice issue - only one in six people progress from low-paid work over a 10-year period. The solutions have to work both for individuals and for employers who face skills challenges.

“I’m excited to be launching the London Progression Collaboration today. This innovative partnership is an opportunity to help transform the lives of Londoners in low-pay, low-skilled work, as well as supporting businesses to address key skills gaps.

“Whilst there are challenges with the apprenticeships levy, by working collaboratively to direct funds to the sectors and skills with the most to gain we can take bold strategic decisions to make a difference.”

Clare McNeil, IPPR Associate Director, said:

“The London Progression Collaboration has developed from IPPR’s major New Skills at Work programme. There’s a big opportunity here for a strong partnership between business, government and civil society to deliver better work and better pay for Londoners. We hope that this initiative will show how such partnerships could work right across the country.”

Delphine Poschmann, Head of U.K. Philanthropy for J.P. Morgan, said:

"The labour market is rapidly changing and too many people are being left behind without the skills that they need for in-demand jobs. Apprenticeships are vital in providing skills to boost employability and clearing pathways to better quality jobs. The UK current apprenticeship system must work for firms as well as the individuals, so this collaboration between small business, large business and government is a great step forward.”

To prepare people for the future of work, JPMorgan Chase has invested more than $350 million to support skill building and job training worldwide. Since 2014, the firm has helped nearly 150,000 individuals in 37 countries, 30 states, 81 cities gain the skills they need to compete for good jobs.

Mark Hilton, Executive Director for Employment and Skills at London First, said:

“London First are delighted to support the London Progression Collaboration. We know from London’s businesses some of the challenges they face around apprenticeships and the levy, but also some of the profound skills needs we must take action on. The London Progression Collaboration will help businesses to offer great apprenticeship opportunities which meet the capital’s needs.”


  1. The London Progression Collaboration is a free business support service aiming to increase employers’ investment in apprenticeships by alleviating some of the challenges they currently experience with the apprenticeship levy system. The LPC’s core offer to employers therefore encompasses:
    • Levy-transfer brokerage and support, matching large employers with SMEs and supporting both parties throughout the process
    • End-to-end apprenticeship advice and support, from strategic advice to hands-on practical support
    • Access to its knowledge transfer network to share best practice.
  2. Find out more about the London Progression Collaboration at The official LPC website will launch on the morning of Tuesday 4th February at and is on Twitter @LPC_Progression
  3. J.P. Morgan’s support of the London Progression Collaboration is part of New Skills at Work, the firm’s $350 million commitment to prepare adults and kids for the future of work. Five years ago, J.P. Morgan invested $75 million through New Skills for Youth to support states and regions to dramatically increase the number of young people completing high-quality career pathways that start in high school and culminate in credentials that have value in the labor market by transforming the design and delivery of career-focused education. These communities developed and scaled innovative educational programs that helped tens of thousands of students in eight countries, 10 states, and more than 20 cities gain the education, skills, and credentials they need to compete for well-paying jobs.  Further information on J.P. Morgan’s website.
  4. The London Progression Collaboration is a two-year initiative which began working with employers in autumn 2019. The work is delivered by a matrix team of IPPR and GLA staff, led by London Progression Collaboration director Anna Ambrose.
  5. The apprenticeship levy was introduced in 2017. Employers with a wage bill over £3 million pay 0.5% into the levy, which they can then spend on the training and assessment costs of apprentices. Levy payers can also transfer up to 25% of their unspent funds to another business, such as an SME in their supply chain or local area.
  6. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.