Work and Skills

Work and Skills

Our ambition in Greater Manchester is to create an integrated employment and skills eco-system which has the individual and employer at its heart, and that better responds to the needs of residents and businesses and contributes to the growth and productivity of the GM economy.

We want to see an employment and skills system in Greater Manchester where young people will leave the education system with the knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to succeed; where working-age adults who are out of work or who have low levels of skills will have access to the support they need to enter and sustain employment; and where all adults have the chance to up-skill and progress in their careers.

Greater Manchester Work and Skills Strategy and Priorities 2016-2019.

To deliver this ambition, we have developed the Greater Manchester Work and Skills Strategy, which will help us move towards a future system where:

  • Young people will leave compulsory education well prepared for the world of work and further study.
  • Residents will have the right support to make the best choices about their employment and skills options and have better access to the right integrated support at the right time to enter, progress or sustain employment.
  • Employers are able to grow, have access to and invest in the skills they require, encouraging in work support and wage progression.  Employers will be actively engaged in shaping GM’s education and skills system and take responsibility in supporting residents back into work.
  • Employment and skills initiatives will be developed and commissioned at a local level, providing unemployed residents and those furthest from the labour market with the right integrated support required to move them closer to work.
  • Further education and training providers will progress more people into intermediate and advanced level skills in areas linked to Greater Manchester’s growth sectors.
  • Health commissioning will be integrated with work and skills support to capitalise on the fact that ’good work is good for your health’.

To help us achieve this, and to make sure activity is adding value and maximising the impact of Greater Manchester investment and initiatives, there are ten key priorities which we will focus on over the next three years:

  • Improving careers education, information, advice and guidance to support informed decision-making.
  • Reforming the work and skills system to focus on outcomes not outputs, with an outcome framework to  underpin all future commissioning of provision.
  • Developing GM’s work and skills infrastructure to meet the needs of the economy, working through the Area Based Review, JCP’s Estate Review and the One Public Estate programme.
  • Improving attainment from compulsory education; improving achievement of 5+ GCSEs including English and maths at 16 and ensuring more young people achieve a L3 equivalent by 19.
  • Strengthening employer engagement; developing a comprehensive approach which puts employers at the heart of the system, from entry level employment to higher level skills.
  • Growing the quality and quantity of Apprenticeships; harnessing the opportunities around improved CEIAG, improved employer engagement and activity linked to the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • Developing higher level skills, ensuring a seamless system which supports young people and adults to progress routinely to degree level equivalent skills, and to retain that talent.
  • Redesigning universal support provision; providing an integrated and personalised support offer with a view to sustainable job outcomes.
  • Developing specialist support for hard-to-reach groups, utilising Working Well and the Work and Health programme to support adults who have been outside the labour market for long periods.
  • Ensuring GM commissioned programmes have a skills and work focus, working with partners across the ESF, business support and health landscape to ensure all commissioning activity supports delivery of GM’s work and skills priorities.

Each priority is supported by a programme of activity to drive forward the vision, maximise the potential opportunities available and address some of the challenges that are currently faced in the system. 

Work and Skills - Call for Evidence

Greater Manchester’s Work and Skills Strategy has been undergoing a refresh, supported by the Learning and Work Institute on behalf of the GMCA in discussion with Greater Manchester Employment and Skills Advisory Panel (ESAP), which brings together representatives of Greater Manchester’s core strategic partnership networks, including education/skills providers, employers, the VCSE sector, local authorities, and others.

We want to gather as many views, ideas and examples of effective practice as possible from our partners and stakeholders to help shape our thinking around the priorities that have been identified and about our wider activity, including implementation of skills and employment elements of the Local Industrial Strategy.

A Call for Evidence is running to the end of January 2020, which is an opportunity for stakeholders, employers, education and skills providers and other interested bodies in Greater Manchester to provide views about how we could work together to deliver a more effective and joined-up work and skills system. In particular, we’d like to hear from employers about how can work with them more effectively across specific areas of workforce development and talent pipeline planning, not only in order to meet immediate needs but also how we help our residents, communities and businesses to thrive in the future. 

The Call is open to midday on Friday, January 31, 2020. We look forward to hearing from you. 

How do I contribute?

  • Please use this form to respond to the questions around the five priority areas. Some of the five might be more relevant to your organisation than others - if that is the case, you don’t need to complete every section.
  • We are particularly interested in specifics - for example, if you are experiencing skills gaps tell us as much as possible about the skills, occupations or roles that are affected.
  • We also want to hear about good practice, ideas and innovations: specific examples of things that have worked well to address issues your organisation has faced, or actions that have been taken that have not fully delivered the intended outcomes but learning can be taken from what didn’t work.
  • The Call for Evidence concentrates on the five areas that we will be focusing on as we move forward. However, this is also space at the end for any other comments. If you have any further evidence (e.g. reports, data etc.) that you would like us to consider and which have not been submitted previously (eg during the consultation which supported development of GM’s LIS), please send this with your written submission.
  • Once completed, please return your form and any other relevant information to:    

What happens next? 

  • All comments will be considered alongside related work on LIS implementation and other relevant activity.
  • It is envisaged that there will be a further opportunity for stakeholders to contribute early in 2020 through facilitated workshops in relation to Greater Manchester's Local Industrial Strategy.
  • Your submission can be anonymous, however, if you would like to receive further information about the ongoing review and/or are happy for us to attribute your comments to your organisation, please confirm and provide your email address.
  • Thank you for taking the time to complete to submit evidence.


Adult Education Budget

The AEB, which will transfer from central government to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) from August 2019, will support tens of thousands of the city-region’s residents every year to develop the skills they need for life and work. Worth £92 million, a Greater Manchester place focused partnership of 36 grant and contracted organisations will work together with key stakeholders as a partnership to deliver high quality skills provision for the people of Greater Manchester.

Working Well

Working Well is a family of services that embody Greater Manchester’s devolved employment and health offer. They have been commissioned to support people experiencing or at risk of long-term unemployment.


In Greater Manchester, we believe apprenticeships can give everyone the chance to start and develop their career, as well as supporting businesses to develop and grow by creating a skilled workforce that meets their needs.

Bridge GM

Bridge’s aim is to create a link between schools and employers that allows economic benefits to be gained for both young people and the employers within Greater Manchester. Bridge is changing the future landscape of education and improving the economic benefits for young people and employers alike through their positive connections in the local economy.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority is striving to reduce the inequalities of opportunities experienced by our young people so that they can be inspired, motivated and better prepared to tap into the future opportunities of Greater Manchester’s labour market.

Find out more on the Bridge GM website.

Work shadowing

We’re encouraging employers across Greater Manchester to offer work shadowing opportunities for young people in their local area.

Our aim is to deliver 1,000 work shadowing opportunities to young people across the region (in school years 7-14) in a variety of business environments, to help them to learn about different roles and careers and to gain first-hand industry experience.

This is an excellent opportunity for employers to meet their future workforces and give young people a clear line of sight into the world of work.

Employers are encouraged to come along to our launch event on Wednesday 24 April to find out more about the programme and join the growing list of employers who have already signed up.

Book your place now.

Find out more on the Bridge GM website.

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