Andy Burnham stands by a presentation screen in front of a full audience at a business breakfast held at GM Chamber of Commerce
Work and Skills technical education

Business giants and the public back Mayor’s vision for technical education

  • Microsoft, Siemens, Kraft Heinz, Deloitte, Barclays, Ernst & Young, BBC, ITV and Autotrader are some of the big names
  • 3 in 5 parents and carers and 90% of consultation respondents back a Greater Manchester Baccalaureate
  • Mayor unveils next steps towards making Greater Manchester an Integrated Technical Education City-Region

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has praised sixty businesses coming forward to support his vision for technical education in the city-region at a business breakfast today [26 Sept 2023].

Big names include Microsoft, Siemens, Kraft Heinz, Deloitte, Barclays, Ernst and Young, BBC, ITV and Autotrader who attended the event. They were joined by employers from the world of construction and green economy – Capital and Centric and Seddon Construction; from education – Shaw Education Trust, UA92, all five of the city-region’s universities; from culture – Factory International, The Warehouse Project/Parklife, BBC, ITV, Halle, Street Games UK, Science and Industry Museum; and from manufacturing and engineering – Sodexo, Daikin and Stepan Company, and others.

These businesses have agreed to be part of a new network of employers to drive forward Greater Manchester’s ambition to create a technical education city-region and galvanise industry to commit to take action.

Seven leaders will be appointed to form an Employer Integration Board who will use insights from seven key sectors to develop more technical education opportunities for young people in Greater Manchester. The sectors are:

  • Manufacturing and engineering
  • Financial and Professional
  • Digital and Technology
  • Creative, Culture and Sport
  • Construction and Green Economy
  • Education and Early Years
  • Health and Social Care

The work of the Board will be employer-led and members will use their position to advocate for the value of technical education in building and maintaining a diverse and skilled workforce. They will also help to create more Industry Placements and Apprenticeships for young people to develop the skills they need and will co-design the curriculum with technical education providers to help connect the learning to the workplace.

Leaders will work closely with Greater Manchester Combined Authority and the Greater Manchester Chambers of Commerce.

Interested businesses can apply to sit on the Employers Integration Board through an open application process, which launches today [Tuesday 26th September] and will close on Monday 16th October 2023. Applications will be shortlisted and final appointments will be agreed by the Mayor. The successful seven leaders will be appointed by the end of October 2023.

Those businesses that have pledged their support but have not been selected to sit on the overarching Employers Integration Board will automatically form an Employer Supporters Action Network, which will help the Board to create forward change through information sharing as well as identifying challenges and opportunities.

As part of the ambition to make Greater Manchester a technical education city-region, back in May the Mayor announced plans to create two equal pathways for young people when they make their GCSE choices – one academic and one focussed on technical careers – and with the ability to move between those pathways. As part of this, the Mayor has proposed the idea of a Greater Manchester Baccalaureate (MBacc) for technical education, which would sit alongside the existing clear pathway for those wanting to pursue a university education.

The MBacc, which will launch in September 2024 with a pilot programme, will guide students towards subjects which will maximise their chances of getting a good job in our growing regional economy, such as in Engineering, Computer Science or the creative subjects.

Following the initial announcement, BMG Research carried out a survey of 975 residents with school age children in Greater Manchester to test what they thought of the proposals and they found that three in five are supportive of the plans. GMCA also carried out a public consultation which found that 90 percent of the respondents strongly back the proposals.

An overwhelming number of consultation respondents also backed working with employers and key stakeholders to shape the technical pathway. Many participants stated that working with employers to shape the proposal would also help support buy-in and build capacity for industry placements. One respondent wrote: “This is a vital region-focussed innovation which will lead the way in addressing longstanding inequalities.”

As part of the proposals, Greater Manchester’s Apprenticeship and Careers Service (GMACS) will also be enhanced to increase access to technical education qualifications and opportunities as well as a wider package of support. It will sit alongside the UCAS system for those pursuing a university route.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “I’m delighted that so many big name employers – all with a base in Greater Manchester - have stepped up to lead from the front in championing the value of technical education, get involved in developing the curriculum, and crucially, help provide training opportunities and jobs.

“I’m also pleased to see employers from a diverse range of sectors get involved from health, education, manufacturing to banking. It shows just how much opportunity is out there and the fact that so many parents and carers and the public in general back our proposals is heartening.

“Today is a clear signal to young people and their parents and carers in our city-region that we will support you with a clear pathway if university education is not for you.”

Jo Ahmed, partner and member of the Deloitte North West leadership team, said: “As a large employer both in the UK and across the region we share the ambition to make career pathways more accessible to a large and diverse population and ensure there are opportunities to thrive for all. Helping to shape the skills and employability agenda across Greater Manchester is important to us and we look forward to the prospect of joining the GMCA’s Employer Board.”

John McGrath, Chief Executive at Factory International, said: “Some of the most exciting and rewarding jobs in the Creative Industries are in the many technical fields that bring creative content to our screen and stages.  At Factory International we are working with partners across the city region to ensure that these opportunities reach the widest range of young people in Greater Manchester – training them up for the jobs of today, and of the future.”

Viv Dennis, UK HR Manager at the global chemical manufacturing company Stepan Company, said: “Stepan UK is delighted to support Greater Manchester Combined Authority in developing and enhancing Early Careers opportunities in the city region.

“As a global specialty and intermediate chemical manufacturing organisation, we are looking to increase the number of Degree Apprenticeships and Apprenticeships on offer in the next 5 years, allowing candidates to start a fantastic career and study for a related degree or professional qualification.

“In order to support the rest of the sector and secure our own future talent pipeline, Stepan UK will be joining the Mayor’s initiative to ensure that we help inform and frame the requirements from an employer’s point of view.”

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, GMCA Portfolio Lead for Education, Work and Skills added: “I’m excited about the significant progress already made to make Greater Manchester a technical education city-region with so many employers coming on board and all of them leaders in their field. It will inspire confidence in young people unsure about their future that there are routes for them into employment and we are here ready to support them.

“The sheer variety of employers who have signed up already shows how much support is out there for our ambition, and I also want to see our small and medium-sized businesses get involved too to ensure young people have the widest possible choice available.”

Apply to be part of the Employer Integration Board or read more about the plans for MBacc here.

Article Published: 26/09/2023 14:17 PM