Transport for London

Transport for London for Supplier Skills Programme

In 2008 Transport for London (TfL) commissioned a study which highlighted severe skills shortages and a lack of diversity in the transport industry, with the average engineer being white, male and aged 57. At the same time, London was experiencing low levels of skills and high unemployment, with one in four young Londoners out of education, employment or training, increasing to almost one in two for ethnic minority youth.

To address these issues, TfL’s Supplier Skills Programme was initiated in 2009. This includes contract requirements for suppliers to create skills and employment outcomes for disadvantaged Londoners as a condition of doing business with TfL. TfL supports suppliers, connecting them to a network of charities and employability partners and a pool of unemployed young people, and setting up bespoke pre-employment training such as the Route into work programme at the London Transport Museum.

TfL has supported their suppliers to create over 4,500 apprenticeships and bring over 5,000 workless Londoners into employment, including 100 ex-offenders. The programme has gained widespread recognition, improving TfL’s reputation by having a workforce that better represents the community it serves. The Department for Transport now requires other public sector bodies to replicate TfL’s approach, which will result in thousands more jobs for disadvantaged young people.

“Being offered this apprenticeship has helped me get my life back on the right path. I think it’s important that companies provide opportunities because it gives young people like me a chance to better their life and start a lengthy career in the rail industry.” Track maintenance engineer apprentice and former young offender



  • Over 4,500 apprenticeships created 
  • 5,000 workless Londoners brought into employment including 100 ex-offenders



Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, an international law firm with 2,500 lawyers, established the Ready for Work programme with Business in the Community, to support disadvantaged people gain and sustain employment. The firm set up this programme to demonstrate a commitment to the Work Inclusion agenda. In addition to homeless people, the firm supports ex-offenders and others blighted by long-term unemployment.

The support includes offering work placements at the firm, employability coaching, and informal support schemes. Its support has also been invaluable in helping people leaving prison to make a valuable contribution to society. Over half of the beneficiaries have entered employment as a result of the programme, with 80 per cent of those sustaining employment for at least 6 months.

Freshfields was one of the first firms to sign up to the ‘Ban the Box’ campaign- where job applicants do not have to reveal criminal convictions until they have a job offer. Employment reduces the chance of reoffending by up to 50% and Freshfields’ work has resulted in them instigating a London- wide policy change, opening up the recruitment process so individuals are assessed on their ability and qualifications and not discounted due to an unrelated conviction.



  • 52 % of candidates entered employment within a year

  • 80 % sustained employment for at least six month


    90% of Freshfields staff reported increased commitment to the firm
  • 65% of trainees mention Corporate Responsibility is important


Logo: Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work

Future Focus

Future Focus is the collaborative programme of Chiswick Park Enjoy-Work, a property management company based in West London. They work with their tenants and Chiswick School to give students a vision for their future, clarify responsibilities associated with business, open their eyes to quality job opportunities, and help them realise that achieving goals takes commitment.

The programme aims to increase work-related skills and aspirations through access to help with producing a letter of application and CV, interview preparation workshops, speed networking sessions, and job interviews.

To date the programme has helped over a thousand local people, with 203 gaining an accredited qualification. Feedback data indicates that programmes such as Future Focus contribute to high employee retention and attracting new tenants.