London mayor Boris Johnson visits WorldSkills London 2011 at the ExCeL

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has announced a cash injection to help job hunters, coinciding with his visit to the WorldSkills exhibition in the Docklands today.

He was at the the ExCeL exhibition centre this morning, where he spoke to employers about the success achieved in London to create 28,000 apprenticeship opportunities, beating the original target of 20,000.

He also talked about the benefits apprentices can bring to businesses.

Jointly funded by the Mayor and the European Social Fund (ESF), the �13m fund will include a focus on young people with learning disabilities and those at risk of dropping out of school or college, to help them into work or to develop skills.

It is part of an overall package of funding worth �50m, jointly from ESF, the Mayor and the Skills Funding Agency, which will be channelled in to boosting opportunities for youngsters across the capital over the next four years.

Mr Johnson said: “Only too recently we’ve seen the damage that can be caused to our city by those who, for whatever reason, do not have a purpose in life.

“London’s young people are London’s future and it is vital that nobody is left behind and everyone has the same opportunity to learn, train or work.

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“That means carefully targeting this valuable investment in our city to catch those young Londoners who are at risk at the earliest opportunity.”

The Mayor and his ambassador for training and enterprise, Tim Campbell, also toured WorldSkills London 2011 to see competitors battling it out in a range of vocational competitions, ranging from dress making and cooking to web design.

WorldSkills is the world’s largest international skills competition and careers event for young people. Thousands of apprentices from across the globe are competing to be the best in their chosen skill.

Mr Johnson said the WorldSkills was important for London, being held in the city for the first time in the competition’s 60-year history.

“It is showing off the skills and talent us this country,” he said. “The economy is going to pick up one day and it is important people have the skills when it does.”