A meeting this morning with David Higgins, Chair of HS2 Ltd, a project that is now thankfully, eight years from its inception, getting under way on the ground, reminded me of last week's Combined Authority held at a recently refurbished Wigan Town Hall. Lots of interesting stuff on the agenda but wanted to draw attention to the Local Growth Fund project to develop an International Screen School.
Not sure about the name which might be misinterpreted as being just about film and TV, but this project, developed in partnership with Manchester Metropolitan University, is a really exciting proposal to enhance digital skills in Greater Manchester, supporting what is already a major centre for creative media and digital industries. Manchester Met already has a great track record in recruiting local students, and the project establishes links with Manchester and Salford Colleges to increase the opprtunities for GM people. Skill shortages are holding back growth in the sector and although the International Screen School alone won't solve that, it will make serious inroads and give Manchester's digital industries another usp.
Stayed in Wigan for an hour after the meeting for a tour of the Be Wigan Experience, an immersive training experience for Wigan Council staff. That makes it sound very hi-tec and expensive which it isn't. It didn't cost much at all to put together and the journey through the experience is led by ordinary (maybe that should be extraordinary) Wigan Council staff trained as hosts. Our hosts were Michaela and Rob, contagiously enthusiastic, who showed how they were improving the delivery of front-line and support services and service management by developing an understanding of the part all staff could play in building a better Wigan. The Our Manchester Experience is on its way!