London mayor Ken Livingstone has launched an attempt to take control of the Learning Skills Council in a move that would allow him to combat skills shortages in the run up to the Olympics.

Livingstone told delegates at last week’s TUC conference in Brighton that he was in talks with the government over taking control of the Learning Skills Council, which is responsible for co-ordinating post-16 vocational training. The mayor wants to integrate the body with the London Development Agency, which is responsible for overseeing initial Olympics contracts.

Livingstone said: “The London Development Agency is already working with the Learning and Skills Council. We recognise that we have to upskill our workforce.

I am in negotiations with the government about extending the powers of the mayor. One of the areas we are looking at is bringing the Learning and Skills Council under the mayor.”

Livingstone said Olympics contracts being drafted by the LDA and Transport for London would set “new standards for recruitment”, and would incorporate the basic principles lobbied for by trade unions.

The pledge comes after the fledgling Olympic Delivery Authority released a draft set of procurement principles for use on Olympic construction contracts.

These include a focus on sustainability, and set out the authority’s intention to use electronic procurement methods to streamline the procurement process.