In Greater Manchester, we see apprenticeships differently because we recognise the contribution and opportunities they bring to city region - its people and its businesses. Here, organisations work together to ensure all apprenticeship opportunities are of the highest quality. We consider ourselves exemplars for apprenticeship employment, providing a wide range of opportunities to develop skills and improve business productivity.

Our vision is that:

  • Greater Manchester will lead the way in apprenticeship employment, providing quality opportunities for learning and development.
  • More of our employers than ever before will see the contribution that high quality, sustainable apprenticeships can make to their business and their workforce.
  • Our residents will be inspired and supported to make decisions about how an apprenticeship can support their personal and professional development.
  • In Greater Manchester, apprenticeships create more and better opportunities for anyone looking to develop their career at any time.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority's work to improve the quality and grow the numbers of apprenticeships focuses on these 7 key areas:

  • Removing Barriers - Key to providing high-quality apprenticeship opportunities for all is to remove barriers to apprenticeships. We have a number of projects underway including: 
    • A call for project proposals from across the public, private and VCSE sectors to pilot, through a test and learn approach, a number of projects supporting small cohorts of under-represented learners to remove identified and evidenced barriers to apprenticeships
    • View the BAME Employer Resource

    • Apprenticeships don’t have to be full time, and we want to work with employers to promote opportunities for people that may have barriers to full-time working due to caring responsibilities, health conditions or other personal circumstances. We’re developing a guide for employers which will be available to download once produced

    • Apprenticeships also aren’t just for young people. Re-training, improving your skills, or pursuing a new career can all be achieved by undertaking an apprenticeship programme. Working with the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub we are promoting apprenticeships as an opportunity for anyone, at any age, to develop or change direction
  • Supporting SMEs – We are launching our Greater Manchester small-to-medium enterprise apprenticeship package, which will include grants for non-levy paying employers, support with workforce planning to highlight where apprentices could fit in with the business, a levy matchmaking service, and the roll-out of criteria to make you a quality apprentice employer. 

  • Maximizing the levy impact –  Working with levy-paying employers to better support apprenticeship programmes, maximize levy investment back into businesses and the wider Greater Manchester community, and ensure there are opportunities to develop our future talent. We’d like to work with you to pilot different approaches, flexible apprenticeships, and create clusters of high-quality apprenticeships within your sector.

  • Public sector apprenticeship approach – We have been working closely with our colleagues across local authorities, NHS, police, fire and transport services to ensure apprenticeships are at the heart of the public sector, and we are maximising the investment made to create Greater Manchester's future leaders. For more information on this work contact

  • Improving quality – Providers and employers working together can create the highest quality apprenticeship programs tailored to directly meet business needs. Understanding labour market information and translating this into an apprenticeship context, brokering conversations between the two, will lead to the provision we really need.

    We want apprentices to have the best experience, setting them up for the next stages of their career. To this end, we have developed a set of criteria that highlights what a good employer of apprentices in Greater Manchester looks like.

    And to make sure apprentices have the digital skills they need, we are working in partnership with iDEA (opens in a new window) to encourage all apprentices to gain their bronze and silver awards in this free, nationally recognised online programme. Contact for a code to gain additional points as a Greater Manchester apprentice. 

  • Providing information and advice – Through our Apprentice Ambassadors (the real face of Greater Manchester apprentices), the #SeeDifferent campaigns, and business engagement such as Bridge GM (opens in a new window), we want to sure that everyone has the information they need to make a positive choice and understand if an apprenticeship could be right for them.

  • Tackling Skills Gaps – As we develop our Local Industrial Strategy, and better understand the future skills needs for the city region, we want to ensure that the right apprenticeship provision is in place for all occupations. Working alongside the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership (opens in a new window) we are creating a blue print for apprenticeships across the sector.