Local Solutions for Local Outcomes: Devolved Skills in Greater Manchester
From the start of the 2019 to 2020 funding year the government intends to hand control of the Adult Education Budget (AEB) to devolved regions (those with elected mayors).
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority will soon be responsible for managing and delivering its own AEB, and planning is well underway to ensure that funding is used to deliver programmes that address local and regional skills needs. If managed correctly, it promises to create a system that impacts positively on businesses, individuals and communities in the Greater Manchester area.
The impact of devolution in Greater Manchester
In its latest Work and Skills Strategy, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) highlights the need to seize the opportunities offered by skills devolution over the coming years. It will enable the development of a more diverse and distinctive economy that opens up new opportunities for residents and helps local businesses to thrive. It outlines four main skills trends that need to be addressed in order to successfully overcome the challenges the city faces:
- Gaps in generic skills which run across sectors. To overcome this challenge Training and skills providers will need to embed functional skills training as part of all their AEB delivery. This involves English, Maths and ICT initial assessments and diagnostics with specific functional skills training, delivered by a functional skills specialist, to get the learners/participants to the next level and therefore bridge the gap.
- The need to shift skills delivery to higher levels across most of the key growth sectors. Local skills and apprenticeship providers will need to deliver higher level apprenticeships up to level 7, this will help meet the expected growth of jobs, in GM, requiring skills to at least level 4.
- The need to understand the specific skills needs and dynamics of GM’s main growth sectors. Reported skills gaps and shortages in GM in manufacturing, for example, would have a big impact on the GM economy and therefore there is a need to understand exactly what the gaps are and how they can be bridged.
- Supporting businesses to move up the value chain will also enable skills performance and boost productivity. GM employers will be required to play an active role in co-producing and co-financing skills at higher levels and therefore allow GM firms to innovate and compete.
With the right solutions in place, Greater Manchester has the potential to become a highly skilled city with world class talent to meet the needs of business. Individuals will have access to a growing number of opportunities and greater labour market participation will help to drive economic growth.
One of the local bodies helping to support devolution is the Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (GMLEP). The GMLEP works with private and public sector organisations to support business growth, develop the skills of local people, support direct investment and reform public services. GMLEP work in partnership with the GMCA and work through a range of delivery bodies.
Seetec has met with Mike Blackburn, chair of the GMLEP to discuss the Work and Skills Strategy and how this fits into the LEP 2020 vision for Greater Manchester – in particular how it links to the Greater Manchester Growth and Reform Plan and how we, as an established training provider in the region, can further tailor our services to meet local and regional skills needs.
Seetec works with a diverse range of partners across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors to deliver local and tailored employment and training solutions. Find out more about working with us here