Working together to develop skills in London | Aurea Jones

Aurea Jones

 With the government increasingly handing responsibility of local skills provision to metro mayors, combined authorities and local enterprise partnerships, The NHS Confederation and NHS Employers supported Aurea Jones’s application to the Mayor of London’s Skills for Londoners Business Partnership as part of their work to help NHS leaders understand the wider skills agenda and how to influence it. Here Aurea, director of people strategy at Barts, explains how it all works.

I am very pleased to represent NHS Employers on the Mayor of London’s Skills for Londoners Business Partnership.

The Skills for Londoners Business Partnership brings together representatives from across the capital’s businesses to inform future skills development provision in London and to better meet the needs of the capital’s employers today and in the future. It will also advise the Mayor on how skills and education provision can help businesses access talent, particularly in response to a range of challenges including Brexit and increasing automation.

The Partnership aims to:

  • improve London’s skills system to better meet the needs of employers, businesses and the London economy
  • increase skills investment and workforce development in London’s industries to meet the demands of the global economy
  • improve information and data on skills needs from employers and ensure the most accurate/reliable data is used to inform skills provision in London.

Setting the vision

The Business Partnership and the Skills for Londoners Board will work together to inform both a new skills and employment vision to be published later this year and the Mayor’s local industrial strategy (which is due to be published at the same time).

In preparation for the skills, vision and local industry strategy, a visioning session was held in early March, at which the Skills for Londoners Board and Business Partnership considered a range of challenges facing the capital and discussed innovative suggestions for how these may be tackled. Some of the questions that we tackled were:

  1. How do you think Brexit and the government’s proposals on immigration will affect London’s access to skilled talent? How should London’s employers, education providers, and London government respond to this challenge?
  2. What opportunities and challenges does technological, particularly Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, pose for London’s industries? How can London’s industries prepare for these to support London’s workforce to adapt to change? 
  3. While employment is at its highest levels since 1971, low pay and in-work poverty pose significant challenges for many Londoners. How can London’s workforce be supported with this growing challenge?
  4. The Mayor is committed to creating inclusive growth so that all Londoners can benefit from the capital’s successes. How do we improve diversity in London’s key sectors, especially in higher skilled and higher paid professions?

The discussion was lively and rich and covered many of the issues that we are grappling with in the NHS including:

  • how to develop and sustain a workforce supply for the future
  • how we create workforce models where apprenticeships and life-long learning are integral
  • how we build caring and inclusive organisations free from discrimination.

The Partnership will provide a great opportunity to both collaborate with employers across industries contributing to London’s diverse economy and to shape Skills for Londoners' vision and strategy. I am looking forward to sharing the discussion with London’s NHS HR Director Network and hearing from NHS employers in London about priorities and how we might contribute best.

For more information about the Mayor’s Skills for Londoners strategy and the Mayor of London’s Skills for Londoners Business Partnership please click here.

Aurea Jones is director of people strategy at Barts Health NHS Trust and is a member of the Mayor of London’s Skills for Londoners Business Partnership

For more information about how you can work locally with metro mayors, combined authorities and local enterprise partnerships, contact the NHS Confederation’s local growth advisor on

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