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30th September 2019

Businesses and educators call for a radical overhaul of the skills system for Greater Manchester

This week, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network (GMLPN) have launched their joint ‘Ambition for Skills in Greater Manchester’ statement, calling for immediate action to address the decline of lower level qualifications through greater regional control of skills funding and policy.

The report brings together two years of evidence-based research conducted with businesses educators and young people, detailing hte skills needs of Greater Manchester business and residents, as part of teh “Future of Skills 2028” campaign. The statement is intended to support the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Industrial Strategy and, in particular, Work and Skills plans.

Over the last few years several reforms to the skills system have been introduced by government including the introduction of the apprenticeship levy/T-Levels and the new grading scales for GCSEs.

Joy Sewart, Director of Skills and Social Enterprise Police at Greater Manchester Chamber, commented: “These reofrms are intended to build partnerships between government, business, education and training providers. Our Members want access to an efficient, light-touch and cost-effective system that provdes ongoing access to a skilled workforce. They only way we are going to achieve this is through better regional control of skills budgets and proper consultation with employers. Organisations like ours are critical in making sure colleagues within central and regional government are sighted on what skills businesses and educators need to ensure economic growth and a skilled workforce.”

The statement identifies a number of key actions and solutions that both Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network will now lead on with their members to make sure skills policies are supported by practical tools, which enable businesses to grow and prosper, as well as help educators provide quality training to all residents, from the most vulnerable to the most academically gifted.

Anne Gornall, Executive Director of GMLPN, said: “The successful reform of Vocation Technical Education, already underway, depends upon increased collaboration and join action between employers and education and training providers. Our two organisations, the provider network and the Chamber, are in pole position to mobilise and facilitate significant numbers of employers and providers to do so.”

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