Alex Davies, Research Analyst at Greater Manchester Chamber, looks at the launch of the Chamber President's new skills campaign.
Each year, the Chamber holds an annual dinner, an opportunity for our staff and around 500 of our members to come together for food, drink, entertainment and, if the evening goes particularly well, a whole lot of dancing.
At this year’s dinner we had contributions from the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, an expert and appropriately cheeky host in comedian Andrew Ryan, and the usual after party funk and soul antics courtesy of Craig Charles.
Amidst the celebrations there are always some powerful moments, and this year was no exception, as Chamber President Jane Boardman announced the launch of our latest campaign: The Future of Skills 2028.
A theme close to Jane’s heart, the objective of the campaign is to not repeat the mistakes of the past, but to find solutions to ensure that the availability of skills across our region in ten years’ time matches up to the expectations of business and the aspirations of our young people and workers.
When it comes to discussing the problems with our skills system, we may often find ourselves experiencing déjà vu. Many of the primary complaints are the same as those we were discussing ten years ago, and the cracks run throughout all the usual places: from schools to higher education, and from training providers to employers themselves.
A common theme is communication between these stakeholders, who often find themselves at cross-purposes, delivering what they can individually, but collectively missing the mark when it comes to the success of the system overall.
Effective policies to combat this are difficult enough to design, but with 6 Skills Ministers in the last decade alone, and 29 major skills reforms over the past 30 years, it is no wonder that the system struggles to adapt to deliver the skills for the future, rather than today.
With this campaign, we would like to change this not just by gathering the best knowledge available, but most importantly, by getting the various stakeholders to listen to each other and view the system as a whole, working together to adapt to the changing needs of business.
Ultimately, we are here to serve our members and to ensure that Greater Manchester can deliver the skills needed for our businesses, our young people and our workers to thrive.
To inform the future direction of the campaign, we have included a number of supplementary questions to this quarter's Quarterly Economic Survey, asking for a range of opinions on topics from the overall skills landscape in Greater Manchester, to the views of business on some of the skills initiatives included in the Mayor’s manifesto. Answer the latest QES here and for any other thoughts on this subject, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Read Jane Boardman’s full speech from our Annual Dinner here.