Introducing the London Progression Collaboration

Introducing the London Progression Collaboration

 The problem

London has a highly-polarised labour market, with a fifth of Londoners earning below the London Living Wage in low-skill, low-productivity employment. The capital also has amongst the worst in-work progression rates in the country. Meanwhile, despite widely acknowledged skills gaps in key sectors, London has the lowest level of apprenticeship starts in the UK. This is bad for Londoners, bad for employers and bad for the economy.

 A solution

High-quality apprenticeships can support businesses to address skills gaps and increase productivity. They can also support Londoners to progress into work, and from low-pay, low-skills work into better-quality, higher-paying jobs. The right apprenticeships benefit individuals, employers and the economy.

 The London Progression Collaboration

The London Progression Collaboration is building a movement of businesses committed to investing in their employees’ skills. They offer a fully funded business support service to employers to increase investment in apprenticeships, to facilitate the levy transfer process and enable SMEs to access apprenticeships successfully, and to establish a knowledge sharing network. Their approach is tailored to the needs of each business, with a team of account managers ready to support at every stage in the apprenticeship journey.

This innovative pilot is being delivered by the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Greater London Authority, with the financial support of J.P. Morgan. The London Progression Collaboration aims to help over 1,000 Londoners to progress into work, and from low-paid low-skilled work into better-quality, higher-paying jobs.



The London Progression Collaboration has grown out of IPPR’s large-scale New Skills at Work research programme. IPPR made a series of policy recommendations drawing on this research, such as the devolution of the apprenticeships levy and broadening its scope to become a skills levy. However, the think tank also identified a collective action problem in making the current policy work better for Londoners and for employers, and a significant impact opportunity for an initiative addressing these barriers. A feasibility study was carried out in collaboration with the Greater London Authority. Drawing on interviews with over 60 employers in the construction, hospitality and retail sectors, this explored the need for and characteristics of an intervention to support employers to better utilise the apprenticeship levy within the current system. The London Progression Collaboration has been developed based of the findings of this study.

The offer

The London Progression Collaboration’s team of dedicated account managers offers employers comprehensive business support, on a funded basis including:

  • End-to-end apprenticeship advice and support, tailored to the existing knowledge and capacity in each business
  • Levy-transfer brokerage and support, matching large employers with SMEs and supporting both parties throughout the process
  • Access to our knowledge transfer network to share best practice

The opportunity of levy transfer

The London Progression Collaboration works with London employers of all sizes – levy payers and SMEs – in three key sectors: retail, hospitality, and construction. For smaller organisations, there is the opportunity to receive a transfer of funding from levy paying employers- amounting to up to 25% of their funding allocation. This will cover the costs of training and assessments for apprenticeship starts, and could provide the opportunity to bring new apprentices into the workforce or upskill/retrain existing staff. For levy payers, transferring unspent levy is an opportunity to be strategic about how it is used, whether that is to build skills in the sector or supply chain, to support a specific local area, or in line with CSR objectives.

The LPC will support this process, for example:

  • Brokering partnerships to facilitate levy transfer
  • Support to register on the Digital Apprenticeship Service and manage the transfer process online
  • Support to identify apprenticeship standards and training providers
  • Support throughout the apprenticeship journey, and access to our Employer Toolkit

What is the cost to employers?

To access their support, nothing at all!  The business support which the London Progression Collaboration offers is free to London employers in the retail, hospitality and construction sectors. This is enabled by the funding the initiative receives from the Greater London Authority and from J.P Morgan.  Beyond the training costs covered by the Apprenticeship Levy, the costs of employing an apprentice (salary and associated admin) remain the responsibility of the employer.

To find out more contact Anna Ambrose – Director, London Progression Collaboration – email: