Businesses and educators call for a radical overhaul of the skills system for Greater Manchester

EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 30/09/19

This week, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network (GMLPN) have launched their joint ‘Ambition for Skills in Greater Manchester’ statement, calling for immediate action to address the decline of lower level qualifications through greater regional control of skills funding and policy.

The report brings together two years of evidence-based research conducted with businesses educators and young people, detailing the skills needs of Greater Manchester business and residents, as part of the “Future of Skills 2028” campaign. The statement is intended to support the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Industrial Strategy and, in particular, Work and Skills plans.

Over the last few years several reforms to the skills system have been introduced by government, including the introduction of the apprenticeship levy/T-Levels and the new grading scales for GCSEs.

Joy Sewart, Director of Skills & Social Enterprise Policy at Greater Manchester Chamber, commented: “These reforms are intended to build partnerships between government, business, education and training providers. Our Members want access to an efficient, light-touch and cost-effective system that provides ongoing access to a skilled workforce. They only way we are going to achieve this is through better regional control of skills budgets and proper consultation with employers. Organisations like ours are critical in making sure colleagues within central and regional government are sighted on what skills businesses and educators need to ensure economic growth and a skilled workforce.”

The statement identifies a number of key actions and solutions that both Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network will now lead on with their members to make sure skills policies are supported by practical tools, which enable businesses to grow and prosper, as well as help educators provide quality training to all residents, from the most vulnerable to the most academically gifted.

Anne Gornall, Executive Director of GMLPN, said: “The successful reform of Vocational Technical Education, already underway, depends upon increased collaboration and joint action between employers and education and training providers. Our two organisations, the provider network and the Chamber, are in pole position to mobilise and facilitate significant numbers of employers and providers to do so.”


Press contacts:

GMCC - Simon Cronin, Member Communications Manager: 0161 393 4335

Charlotte Cookson, Office Manager/Project Development: 0161 654 1508

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About Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce is the largest Chamber of Commerce in the UK, providing business support to approximately 4,500 members who collectively employ 446,000 people, around one-third of Greater Manchester’s workforce. Recognised as a leader in its field, Greater Manchester Chamber’s reputation in government circles has grown locally and nationally. At the heart of the area of greatest economic intensity outside London and the South East, the Chamber is the primary body for business support, policy, representation and networking. The Chamber is an independent, not-for-profit private company and its aim is to support businesses and help create the best climate for the region to prosper. This is achieved by ensuring that those taking decisions on key issues such as transport, taxation and business regulation hear the voice of our members. The representation of our members’ views is central to the work of the policy team at the Chamber; these views are gathered in a range of ways including our local councils, policy committees, sector councils, the main Chamber council, focus groups, meetings with politicians and consultations. The Chamber also offers a range of networking forums across Greater Manchester, free as part of membership, plus a variety of other events and services designed to benefit specific sectors or individuals and help businesses to grow.