Businesses and educators call for a radical overhaul of GM skills system
This week, Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and Greater Manchester Learning Provider Network (GMLPN) has launched its joint ‘Ambition for Skills in Greater Manchester’ statement.
It calls 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 the skills needs of Greater Manchester business and residents, as part of the ‘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 past 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 & Social Enterprise Policy at Greater Manchester Chamber, said: “These reforms 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 provides ongoing access to a skilled workforce.
“The 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 vocational technical education, already under way, depends upon increased collaboration and joint 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.”