Brand-new work and skills strategy to help everyone in Manchester succeed

A brand-new work and skills strategy for the city to help ensure that everyone living in Manchester, regardless of their age or background, reaches their full potential in life and work and can share in the city's success, has been approved this week by the council's Executive.

The new strategy sets out a city-wide approach to helping all Manchester residents get the training and skills they need to help them secure good fulfilling jobs and to succeed in them.

It was developed following a review of the evidence base of the labour market, looking at where current and future employment opportunities in the city lie, business skills requirements, and the current employment status and skill levels of local residents.  Local residents, employers, education providers and others were also consulted with to help inform the strategy.

The new strategy is based on five key priorities:

Thriving and Sustainable - making sure that Manchester is a thriving place where people can get good jobs with fair pay, and where businesses are supported to start-up and grow

Highly Skilled - ensuring Manchester is a place that helps local people of all ages to learn, in school and beyond, so they can get good jobs.  And making sure the city's workforce has the higher-level skills needed for those businesses in our growth sectors to continue to grow and to attract investment in the city.

Progressive and Equitable - creating an inclusive and equal city where everyone can thrive and easily get support when they need it

Connected - making sure everyone in Manchester has the skills, technology and transport they need to connect with opportunities and services, in person and online

Liveable and Zero Carbon - the city will reduce its carbon emissions to zero by 2038 at the latest

Work to develop the strategy began as Manchester emerged from the worst phases of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Research undertaken and commissioned by the council at that time and again more recently have provided a good understanding of how the clinical and economic consequences of the pandemic played out in the city and have helped to inform the strategy.

It's clear from the research that the main impact of the pandemic on local residents has been an increasing divergence between those who are doing well and those who are struggling - with those in secure, more highly skilled and better paid work more likely to have experienced some benefits from lockdown such as lower exposure to the virus, increased flexibility on work, and increased rates of saving.  

Those in lower skilled, insecure, and lower paid work meanwhile tended to experience negative lockdown consequences such as increased exposure to the virus, reduced income, and reduced economic resilience.

Disproportionate clinical and economic consequences for certain groups and in particular people and communities who experience racial inequalities were also found.

At the same time, for businesses the pandemic created general uncertainty and increased business risk, disrupted supply chains and highly variable business and market conditions, with some sectors - retail, hospitality, and the visitor economy - particularly badly affected.

Since work began on developing the new work and skills strategy other factors are now also having an impact on the city, both at a business and individual level.  These include the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis, as well as the ongoing impact on the local labour market of the UK's decision to leave the European Union.

A robust work and skills strategy is therefore seen as vital to helping the city's most vulnerable residents get back on their feet - especially those who were worst affected by the pandemic, who are also likely to be the people most affected by the current cost of living crisis.  

Councillor John Hacking, Executive Member for Skills, Employment and Leisure, Manchester City Council, said:  "Manchester has a growing and well-deserved reputation as a global city and is rightly recognised as a place that is at the forefront of innovation and development across a wide range of different business, economic, and learning sectors.  

"We think it's only right that local residents are given every chance to be a part of this and to share in the city's success, and are determined to do everything we can to make this happen and to narrow the gap between those who are thriving both economically and in their lives, and those who are not.

"Our new work and skills strategy will play an important part in this by helping ensure that everyone in Manchester has the skills and training they need to secure a good job and a good life for themselves and their families."

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