Economy Work and Skills

Research shows impact of universities as Civic University Agreement reaches major milestone

Research has shown the impact of Greater Manchester’s universities on the city-region, its people, and businesses, one year on from the signing of a flagship agreement.

The Greater Manchester Civic University Agreement commits the five higher education institutions – University of Bolton, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Manchester, University of Salford and Royal Northern College of Music – to collective action around the six priority areas of education and skills; reducing inequalities; jobs and growth; the digital economy; net zero; and the creative and cultural economy.

And to mark the first anniversary of this pledge, research, commissioned by the Greater Manchester Civic University Board, shows that in the next five years the universities will:

  • Train nearly 9,500 nurses, over 3,500 medics and over 8,500 teachers;
  • Provide over £366 million of support and services to small enterprises, business and not-for-profits;
  • Undertake research with businesses and non-academic organisations worth over £1.3 billion;
  • Deliver 6,288 years of professional development training and education courses to businesses and charities; and
  • Create over 1,000 new companies and charities.

The Civic University Board was established following the launch of the partnership and is made up of representatives from the five higher education institutions and Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

This board will drive forward the collective civic work of the universities. Significant progress has already been made in identifying the priority areas – education and skills, and jobs and growth.

The Greater Manchester university vice-chancellors and principal said: “Greater Manchester’s universities are one of our region’s greatest strengths and while we have always recognised our individual impact, together we know that we can do more.

“Whether it’s working with our further education colleges to expand training and skills development opportunities or collaborating with the private sector to drive inward investment into innovation in Greater Manchester, by coming together as a collective we can be more than the sum of our parts.

“Celebrating the first year of the Civic University Agreement allows to us to reflect on what we’ve achieved so far as well as look to the future and set ourselves bold ambitions for helping to make Greater Manchester the best place to grow up, get on and grow old.”

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Greater Manchester is proud to be home to world-leading universities that make an enormous contribution to our region. The Civic University Agreement recognises the essential role they have as anchor institutions, while setting out their responsibilities to our city-region beyond teaching and research.

“One year on from signing this landmark agreement, we’re beginning to see the benefits that closer collaboration can bring. Our universities will continue to carry out ground-breaking research, provide people with valuable skills and foster innovation and entrepreneurship, while also ensuring this contribution benefits everyone in Greater Manchester.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council and GMCA Portfolio Lead for Economy, Business and International, said: “Greater Manchester’s universities play a fundamental role in our society and economy. Their teaching and research attracts tens of thousands of people to our city-region each year, and universities also support businesses, spark economic growth and play an important role in communities.

“The Civic University Agreement formally sets out the priorities we share and the contribution universities can make as we seek to create a fairer, greener and more prosperous city-region. With this agreement now established, we look forward to strengthening our collaboration and realising the collective potential we have to make a positive impact.

“Through their support for initiatives like Innovation Greater Manchester and Open SME, and becoming Living Wage Employers, universities are helping us shape the city-region’s economy so it delivers the right kind of growth.”

The institutions are closely involved in the development of Innovation Greater Manchester – the business-led partnership which brings together the private sector, local and national governments, and the universities to drive the growth of the city-region’s innovation ecosystem. The Government subsequently made a commitment to establish Innovation Accelerators, including one centred on Greater Manchester and Innovation Greater Manchester, in the Levelling Up White Paper.

And Open SME demonstrates this collaborative commitment to working together to drive inclusive growth in the city-region. This programme, that brings together Greater Manchester’s business schools, the Combined Authority and the Business Growth Hub, is an online support programme designed to support small and medium sized firms in the city-region to develop and grow.

All five higher education institutions in the city-region are now Real Living Wage employers, paving the way for them to become supporters and members of the Greater Manchester Good Employment Charter, which was another pledge in the Civic University Agreement.

The Civic University Agreement itself was developed in direct response from feedback from residents of Greater Manchester and to mark the one-year anniversary of the agreement, a new Civic University Citizens Panel has been launched to provide a forum for civic engagement between the universities and members of the public across the city-region.

People from across Greater Manchester, but with a strong focus on those from underrepresented groups, will be invited to be part of the panel where they will directly feed into the work of the universities on their civic priorities.

Article Published: 25/10/2022 12:33 PM