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Greater Manchester begins to build new devolved skills system

02/07/2018

Greater Manchester’s newly appointed portfolio lead for Skills has outlined his plans to ensure that everyone in the city-region has the chance to succeed, as devolution of the adult education budget moved a step closer.

Sean Fielding

Greater Manchester’s newly appointed portfolio lead for Skills has outlined his plans to ensure that everyone in the city-region has the chance to succeed, as devolution of the adult education budget moved a step closer. 

Mayor Andy Burnham said: “I’m very pleased that Cllr Sean Fielding has agreed to become Greater Manchester’s new Lead for Education, Skills & Work.  I know that Sean shares my desire to make sure everyone in Greater Manchester can get on in life.  If we’re to make this a reality then skills and apprenticeships have to be at the heart of Greater Manchester’s plans for the future. 

“Sean takes on this role at an exciting time when we’re moving closer to gaining some of the powers we need to improve skills training across Greater Manchester.  This week we’re setting out how we’re going to build Greater Manchester’s devolved adult skills system and Sean will lead on this important work. 

“As we leave the European Union we have to make sure we have people with the right skills to get the jobs that are being created here.  Devolution of the adult education budget is a critical first step but further devolution will be the key to making a post-Brexit future a success.”

Cllr Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council and Greater Manchester’s new Lead for Education, Skills & Work, said: “I’m proud to become Greater Manchester’s new Lead for Lead for Education, Skills & Work.  Everyone in Greater Manchester should have the chance to get the skills they need to succeed and I’m determined to make that happen.   

“Adult skills are a key part of our plans to help people get on.  That’s why today we are setting out how we will use the devolved Adult Education Budget to ensure adult skills provision truly meets the needs of both local residents and businesses.  We will be asking adult skills providers to think about flexibility in adult skills and the link to the wider education and employment landscape, making sure that investment is targeted to meeting local needs and ambitions.”

Greater Manchester is progressing toward the full devolution of the Adult Education Budget by initially setting out its approach to procuring training provision for Greater Manchester residents. The GMCA has issued a Prior Information Notice (PIN) to test Greater Manchester’s approach and proposals with training providers as part of a wider consultation process, which will also include a formal market engagement event over the summer.

Devolution of the Adult Education Budget formed a key part of Greater Manchester’s ground-breaking 2015 devolution deal. Under the deal, Greater Manchester will gain control of the Adult Education Budget from the 2019/20 academic year. For the first time, this gives local leaders a unique opportunity to ensure that skills training fits the needs of the city-region.

Greater Manchester’s Adult Education Budget will:

  • Help more Greater Manchester residents to gain experience, skills and knowledge relevant to local job opportunities.
  • Ensure our residents have the essential skills they need for life, using skills to promote social inclusion, raise aspirations and realise full potential to progress in learning and work.
  • Respond to changing needs of businesses due to Brexit.
  • Empower residents with digital skills so that they can actively contribute to the changing nature of the world of work.

As well as making sure that Greater Manchester equips people with relevant skills that employers across the region need, the city-region will also be using the devolved Adult Education Budget to focus more on positive outcomes around employment and further training.  This will create a pipeline of talent and improve social mobility to make sure nobody is left behind as the region continues to benefit from economic growth and success.

These changes to the way some adult skills will be procured and delivered will set the agenda for change in Greater Manchester and will form the basis of a more stable, high quality and effective work and skills system.