City Lit Blog

Mayor of London launched his Call for Action at City Lit

Story added 24th Sep 2019

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan with City Lit Principal Mark Malcomson


If you’d asked me over 2 and half years ago when I started at City Lit, that the Mayor would launch his ‘Call for Action’ for further skills devolution funding and responsibility in London at City Lit to coincide with our centenary celebrations and the opening of a new Gallery & Exhibition Space, funded through the Mayor’s capital investment programme, I would have said ‘Great aspiration – but there is a long way to go’.  

But, the plan worked. The effort put in by all the team at City Lit and the GLA has been immense to make it happen.  

More importantly, I believe this positions us and adult education firmly in the Mayor’s future agenda.   Devolution is difficult to navigate and influence.  And the process of devolving the Adult Education Budget in London has raised challenges in some quarters.  But, at City Lit – and other Institutes of Adult Learning across London – we have looked to engage positively with the Mayor’s skills team to ensure that the valuable work of our organisations are closely understood and represented in policy decisions and announcements. The Mayor’s announcement shows we are making good progress…with a firm commitment to embed a genuine lifelong learning culture across the capital.  

But we cannot be complacent… Within the Chancellor’s recent announcement £400 million extra investment for the FE sector and provision for 16-19 year olds, there was no commitment made about adult education.  As we all live longer and with the pace of change in our lives ever quicker, education has an important place throughout our lives – in providing the skills, confidence and resilience for work and life that people need to succeed and flourish. Any future education funding must include improved investment to adult education if the Government are serious about developing the right skills that matter for prosperity.  Lifelong learning has to be seen as the cornerstone of those considerations.

As Mark Malcomson, Principal and CEO at City Lit, said: “Today is a landmark moment for City Lit – showcasing 100 years of service to Londoners. Launching new facilities like our Gallery & Exhibition space underlines our importance to the fabric of London.  As we all live longer and with the pace of change in our lives ever quicker, City Lit help provide the skills, confidence and resilience for work and life that modern day Londoners from every borough and all backgrounds need to succeed and flourish. Having the Mayor outline such a call to action today, emphasises the need to establish a culture of lifelong learning in the capital, to make sure London continues to prosper and remains the world-leading, vibrant and welcoming city we have always been.”

Investment is vital for our sector – and we were so pleased to hear the Mayor’s further funding commitments, and call for even  more investment .  It is important that education is for all - everyone has a right to learn and improve themselves regardless of their ability to finance that learning themselves.  Anyone who comes to City Lit will get a real sense of this. 

This is why we need to support the ambitions of the Mayor’s ‘Call for Action’ – and everyone at City Lit will continue to work closely with City Hall as devolution takes effect. 

Phil Chamberlain, City Lit Executive Director External Engagement