From education to employment

Nine in ten respondents back Greater Manchester’s new vision for technical education

hands in the middle, team
  • Over 50 organisations from a range of sectors respond to Greater Manchester Baccalaureate (MBacc) survey
  • Key partners have shared ideas on how they can support proposals further
  • Responses will help Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) develop and shape the future of technical education in the city-region

Business leaders and education leaders have backed Greater Manchester’s initial proposals for technical education, including a Greater Manchester Baccalaureate (MBacc).

Back in May, the Mayor of Greater Manchester announced plans for the MBacc for technical education, which would sit alongside the existing English Baccalaureate (EBacc) for those wanting to pursue a university education. The MBacc aims to provide clear routes for young people to access work, skills and training in line with what the local economy of Greater Manchester needs from its future workforce.

Part of the Trailblazer Devolution Deal gives Greater Manchester further oversight of post-16 technical skills, allowing local leaders to better shape how the city-region supports the one in three young people who do not want to go to university and match them into the skilled jobs being created in the local economy.

Following the announcement, a consultation took place to find out what members of the public and key partners thought of the MBacc proposals.

Nearly 90 per cent of respondents said they agree with Greater Manchester’s ambition for integrating technical education, skills and work. This includes more than 50 organisations from a variety of industries including digital, education and creative.

A large proportion of the responses were fully supportive of the ambitions, with one response saying, “It’s a powerful first step up” and another said, “This proposal has the opportunity to rebalance some of the regions skills shortages and promote the pipeline of talent more coherently”.

An overwhelming number of respondents backed working with employers and key stakeholders to shape the technical pathway. Many participants stated that working with employers to shape the proposal would also help support buy in and build capacity for industry placements. One respondent wrote: “This is a vital region-focussed innovation which will lead the way in addressing longstanding inequalities.

Other responses cited digital and creative subjects as crucial for the technical education route to work, as well as the opportunity to connect to Greater Manchester’s cultural organisations.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said:

“Since we published our plans, we have received an overwhelmingly positive response from employers and education leaders to the MBacc and our vision for an integrated technical education system. We have been taken aback by the high levels of public support from parents and students who are pleased that technical education is finally being given the priority it deserves.

“We can take huge engagement from these results and will now work up a much more detailed announcement on next steps in September. Our aim remains to introduce our new approach in September 2024.”

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, GMCA lead for Technical Education and Skills said:

“These results reinforce the backing Greater Manchester has received for the move towards an integrated skills system in the city-region.

“Employers continue to highlight a lack of technical skills within Greater Manchester’s workforce required to build their businesses. We will use the survey responses to ensure our skills system is aligned with businesses, creating a workforce that is resilient, flexible and fit for the future.”

Joanne Roney, GMCA chief executive lead for Technical Education and Skills, said:

“These positive consultation results really help to reinforce our ambitions and goes to show Greater Manchester is crying out for reforms to technical education. We will have a further update in September on how these plans will look in practise.”

The MBacc, proposed to launch by September 2024 with a pilot programme, is part of Greater Manchester’s plans for driving technical education which will guide students towards subjects which will maximise their chances of getting a good job in our growing regional economy, such as in Engineering, Computer Science or the creative subjects.

As part of the proposals, Greater Manchester’s Apprenticeship and Careers Service (GMACS) will also be enhanced to increase access to technical education qualifications and opportunities as well as a wider package of support. It will sit alongside the UCAS system for those pursuing a university route.

To find out more about the proposals please visit this website.

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