Our Supplier Skills programme

Our Supplier Skills Team (SST) work in partnership with the supply chain to address skills shortages in the transport and engineering sectors. They help suppliers to employ people with the right skills and focus on addressing under-representation in the industry. This allows us to create employment opportunities and contribute to economic regeneration within London and across the UK.

Since the project was initiated in 2009, the SST has supported the supply chain to
create over 4,500 apprenticeships and 5,000 jobs for unemployed Londoners.

Recent activity

May 2017

We're inspiring more women to join the transport industry with Gingerbread and Women into Construction.

Our new pilot scheme - a work placement programme - is giving more women the chance to experience what the transport industry can offer them.

More than fifteen women are taking part in the pilot programme, which is being run in partnership with the charity Gingerbread and not-for-profit organisation Women into Construction (WiC). Both will provide training and a 2-week placement with one our key suppliers.

Scheme participants have a range of backgrounds and experience, so the aim of the programme is to encourage women who might not have thought about transport as a career option.

Rosie Ferguson, Chief Executive of Gingerbread said: "We know from our daily meetings with single parents that getting back into the job market is a big concern for many of them, but lack of opportunities, experience and even confidence can often hold them back. Transport for London's brilliant scheme gives them the chance to show that they can excel in any environment. Thanks to all the great partner groups involved, participants will no longer have to "mind the gap" between where they are and where they want to get to."

Supplier Skills June 2016 A train technician inspecting the Heathrow Express

Following an introductory session in April, the 3-day training session started in May with key sector speakers from TfL, Siemens and Arriva Rail London. Other training worked on important employability skills, like how to develop a CV, and how to present yourself at interviews.

After completing the course successfully, participants will receive a Level 1 Health and Safety qualification and a Construction Skills Certification Scheme Certification (CSCS) card, which enables them to work on construction sites.

Work placements for participants give them the chance to gain real life work experience. Hosted by Siemens, Arriva Rail London, and Arup opportunities included everything from environmental health and safety to being an assistant train technician. Once they have completed their placements, participants are supported while they search for paid employment within the industry.

Our chief procurement officer, David Wylie, said he was, 'delighted to be working with Gingerbread, Women into Construction and some of our key suppliers to help uncover the brilliant potential of the women taking part in the programme.' He also said he hoped it would, 'give these women, who might otherwise struggle to gain employment and work experience, the chance to kick-start their new careers.'

Skills Shortages

Transport and infrastructure sectors in the UK are facing significant skills shortages. HM Treasury's National Infrastructure Plan for Skills, published in September 2015 forecast an anticipated shortage of 55,000 skilled workers by 2020. To address this, the Department of Transport issued its Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy in January 2016, which committed to the creation of 30,000 transport infrastructure apprenticeships between 2016 and 2020. We aim to make a significant contribution to this target.

Our Supplier Skills team

Established in 2009, the SST was created to ensure that we employ people with the right skills for our contracts and support the supply chain to deliver successfully. The SST do this by supporting the business through each stage of the procurement process, which includes:

  • Implementing and evaluating contract requirements
  • Supporting suppliers from the beginning to the end of their contract
  • Working with suppliers on a voluntary basis to help them maximise the skill and employment opportunities which may arise while working on one of our contracts
  • Helping suppliers to secure government funding for apprenticeship programmes
  • Identifying appropriate learning frameworks and training providers
  • Helping job-seeking candidates via a partnership with the Department for Work and Pensions' (DWP) work programme

Using its relationships with a wide network of charities and employability programmes, the Supplier Skills team also address the under-representation of women and people from BAME backgrounds in the industry and provides training and employment opportunities for groups such as ex-offenders and ex-military personnel.

Strategic Labour Needs and Training

Strategic Labour Needs and Training (SLNT) is part of our Responsible Procurement programme. When suppliers are invited to tender, they are asked to outline how they plan to incorporate at least one SLNT output for every one million (services) or three million (works/infrastructure) of contract spend.

By embedding the following SLNT outcomes into supplier contract requirements, we aim to generate skills and influence employment outcomes:

SLNT output

  • One apprenticeship start
  • One unemployed job start
  • 20 days of industry placement positions or taster days
  • 20 days of schools engagement activities

At least 50% of SLNT outputs on each contract must be an apprenticeship or a workless job start to make sure that new entrants gain access to the industry on each project.

Suppliers also run placements and go in to schools to talk about what they do. This helps to spark interest and encourage understanding in young people about science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects, and their role in the transport sector.

A short film about our entry features two apprentices, who had previously been in youth offender institutes, completing the Route into Work programme and moving into roles with Telent and Cleshar.

Route into Work programme

The SST works with the London Transport Museum to provide the Route into Work training programme: a three-day, accredited, pre-employment course for young people who are not in education, employment or training (NEET).

Run at the museum itself, the course uses the heritage of London's transport to engage future transport workers. At the end of the course, young people show their presentation to a TfL supply chain employer who, in turn, presents their apprenticeship or employment opportunities.

Case studies

Find out more about how we work with suppliers and contractors.