From education to employment

New fully-funded training opportunities launched to plug skills gaps in growing Greater Manchester economy

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MORE than 1,000 people in Greater Manchester are set to benefit from even more free training which will boost their skills, thanks to a programme designed to plug skills gaps across a variety of key industries.

The new Skills for Growth courses will provide fully-funded training opportunities to help people gain knowledge and experience in sectors including; media, green innovation, customer service, and the city-region’s fast-growing digital and tech economy. This is possible due to a cash boost of more than £1.1m.

Reform Radio, an award-winning arts organisation and online station that supports young adults into employment, has been awarded a contract from Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to launch three training courses to help individuals of all ages develop their careers in the creative and cultural sector.

GMCA has also awarded a contract to The Growth Company to create several training programmes, one of which is designed to support the city-region’s growing green economy. The other programme focuses on supporting professional skills, such as HR, customer service and digital skills.

The three-year Skills for Growth programme is funded through the European Social Fund. The innovative training programmes have been created in partnership with employers who have highlighted skills gaps they are struggling to fill.

Councillor Eamonn O’Brien, Greater Manchester’s Lead for Education, Work, Skills, Apprenticeships and Digital, said:

“We now have an excellent range of live training programmes across a variety of sectors within Greater Manchester’s Skills for Growth programme including digital, manufacturing, construction, early years, logistics, project management and health and social care.

“However, we are fully aware there are still skills gaps which could be addressed with further funding in a number of sectors, and we want to make sure that more people are in the best possible position to take advantage of new opportunities across the city-region. Our skills provider network can play a big part in addressing these challenges due to their own work with employers and knowledge of skills shortages.

“These newly developed innovative training courses, specially tailored to meet business-needs, will help to boost productivity, develop a diverse workforce and continue to grow Greater Manchester’s integrated skills system.”

Reform Radio has been awarded £280,100 to launch training programmes in the creative and cultural sector. The three courses, titled In Focus: Audio, In Focus: Content and Social Media and In Focus: Mind and Planet, will support a minimum of 224 people working in this sector. Individuals will learn a variety of skills ranging from music production to podcasting, social media and marketing strategies to filming and concept production. There will also be bespoke sustainability training, stress management and tailored wellbeing workshops.

The Growth Company has been awarded £364,800 to support more than 400 people grow their careers in the green economy. The Accelerating Net-Zero Opportunities training programme has been developed with more than 15 employers who work in the industry, from construction to retrofitting, and is made up of in-person, virtual and self-guided learning. Learners will be able to develop technical skills in electric vehicle technology, as well as low carbon skills.

Funding of £499,008 has also been awarded to The Growth Company to launch the Powering-Up Professional Skills programme. The fully funded training opportunities cover an array of cross-cutting skills such as HR, customer service and digital skills. The Growth Company has worked with more than 30 employers to identify skills gaps and develop the programme. Modules will focus on digital skills, management and leadership, people management, customer services, conflict management and other topics.

Rachel Roger, Director from Reform Radio, said:

“We are so excited to launch these programmes across Greater Manchester. They have been developed through consultation with freelancers, artists and organisations across Greater Manchester and we are really thankful to GMCA, Skills for Growth and ESF for the support to deliver this.

“We have developed a really flexible model to ensure employees and organisations are able to engage without impacting on their already busy work loads.

“We have put together an incredible team of audio and media specialists, sustainability experts and a senior psychotherapist, who can’t wait to begin this important work.”

Lisa Jones-Hill, Sector Director for Professional Services at The Growth Company Education and Skills, said:

“We are delighted to have been awarded these exciting new contracts to support the development and training of people across Greater Manchester.

“The Green Skills programme will be delivered at our purpose-designed Green Skills Academy. The first of its kind in the North. The Academy will give learners the opportunity to work with the latest green technology, placing Greater Manchester at the forefront of these emerging technologies. The Powering-Up Professional Skills programme has been developed alongside employers to identify gaps and equip learners with the skills to fill them. Each of these programmes will give learners the opportunity to develop their knowledge and skills in these in-demand industries to plug skills gaps across these key industries.”

GMCA invited organisations to submit their own innovative solutions to upskill and reskill employees in the city-region, in response to employers who have continually highlighted they struggle to find the technical skills required to grow their businesses.

The Skills for Growth programme is available as a result of GMCA securing funding from the European Social Fund to deliver a three-year programme, working in partnership with businesses and training providers to create new learning opportunities for employed residents in the city-region.

Throughout the programme, GMCA has gathered intelligence from businesses, which has been used to shape new training programmes.

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