Capital jobs created by good buying

29 October 2009

29 October 2009 | Allie Anderson

Hundreds of apprenticeship places are opening up in London as part of Mayor Boris Johnson's "responsible procurement framework".

Some 400 bus driver apprenticeships will be created each year in the capital as well as 15 more general training places under highways contracts negotiated by Transport for London (TfL).

In addition, Serco, the supplier chosen to deliver the Mayor's cycle hire scheme, is exploring plans to offer apprenticeships as part of the 140 jobs it will create. It is not yet known how many training places it will offer.

Suppliers bidding on contracts are required to incorporate training opportunities as part of the framework, which was set out in April's Getting Value for London report issued by the Greater London Authority (GLA) group (Web news, 16 April 2009).

Collan Murray, interim head of responsible procurement at the group, said: "The responsible procurement framework comprises three areas: business, the city and people. Apprentices are key to addressing long-term unemployment and poverty of aspiration and are a great way to add value for businesses. It's about getting Londoners the skills businesses need and want."

Johnson announced the opportunities yesterday to coincide with the release of the Delivering Value for London report, which details what the responsible procurement framework has already delivered and contains some future plans.

Achievements highlighted include: more than 150 suppliers registering with the Diversity Works for London programme (part of the responsible procurement framework) aimed at improving equality and diversity practices; and 80 per cent of SMEs being paid within 10 days.

In addition, all GLA group bodies - the GLA, TfL, the London Development Agency, London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and the Metropolitan Police Authority - are now advertising contracts on CompeteFor, an online system that gives suppliers access to contract opportunities for the London 2012 games and other major public and private sector projects.

Among aims for 2009-10 is increased take-up of the diversity programme and for first-tier suppliers to cascade the use of the CompeteFor website and its opportunities through their supply chains.

In addition, all GLA group organisations recently achieved "gold standard" in a progress review of London's Green Procurement Code (Web news, 21 August 2009). Gold standard is the equivalent of level three of five on a national tool that judges progress on sustainable purchasing. Organisations at level three are demonstrating sustainable procurement practice. The progress review found that more than 500,000 tonnes of waste had been diverted from landfill through recycling projects and nearly 40 tonnes of CO2 had been saved through the purchase and use of energy-efficient equipment.

In addition to apprenticeships, more than 200 of the GLA group's purchasing staff have undergone responsible procurement training, which was developed by GLA and delivered by CIPS.

Johnson said: "I salute the companies that are engaging with the GLA's responsible procurement initiative. They are helping us to use the GLA's huge purchasing power to deliver extra benefits to London, from training up young apprentices to embracing energy-busting, green technology."

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