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Work and Skills

Work and Skills 

Our ambition in Greater Manchester is to create an integrated employment and skills eco-system which has the individual and employer at its heart, and that better responds to the needs of residents and businesses and contributes to the growth and productivity of the Greater Manchester economy.

We want to see an employment and skills system in Greater Manchester where:

  • young people will leave the education system with the knowledge, skills, and attributes they need to succeed
  • working-age adults who are out of work or who have low levels of skills will have access to the support they need to enter and sustain employment
  • all adults have the chance to up-skill and progress in their careers

12 stars arranged in circle on blue background. Graphic text reads, 'European Union European Social Fund'

Covid-19 statement

The Work and Skills team have been working hard to ensure Greater Manchester residents accessing employment and skills training remain supported during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Extra financial security has been provided to local authorities, colleges, training providers and employment programmes in the work and skills sector so they are able to keep supporting residents and delivering skills and employment programmes during this difficult time.

As a result of this, the sector has responded with enthusiasm and are working proactively in new and different ways. Colleges and training providers are keeping in touch with their most vulnerable learners and residents by phone calls, whilst also moving courses and support online swiftly so Greater Manchester residents can keep making positive progress.

Adults looking to retrain or access learning in their local area can find information on organisations providing this at the bottom of this news article on our website.

If you are currently accessing a Working Well programme support has now moved online and via telephone. You can find out more about the changes on the In Work GM website (opens in a new window). For general information please visit the Working Well web page.

This page will be regularly updated with information on how the team is continuing to support residents at this time.

If you have any questions please contact

GMCA Education Leaders Summit 2023

The first GMCA Education Leaders Summit connected education leaders to the work GMCA is doing to support schools and colleges, and explored ways we could collaborate further across GM. It was a huge success. Find out more and sign up for updates on GMCA’s work with the education sector by clicking the link below.

Find out more about the GMCA Education Leaders Summit 2023

Greater Manchester Local Skills Report and Labour Market Plan

Greater Manchester’s Employment and Skills Advisory Panel (ESAP) has refreshed its Local Skills Report & Labour Market Plan (LSR) and accompanying core data indicators. The 2022/23 LSR sets out the key skills and employment priorities facing Greater Manchester, building on the 2021/22 report and setting out the direction of travel in order to influence and support local partners and to feed local intelligence into central government.

With a view to the employer-led Local Skills Improvement Plans that will develop in the future as part of the government’s further education and skills reforms, this report is informed by the work of the GM Skills Observatory and GMCA’s ESF Skills for Growth industry intelligence reports, which now cover a significant number of Greater Manchester’s frontier and foundational economy sectors.

The Greater Manchester ESAP brings together representatives from key local stakeholder networks across the city-region’s skills and employment landscape to identify, prioritise and address skills and labour market issues at a local level as part of the Department for Education’s Skills Advisory Panels (SAPs) programme.

For more information about the LSR or about the work of the ESAP contact

LSR 2022/23

Read the Greater Manchester Local Skills Report and Labour Market Plan 2022/23 (PDF, 2Mb)

Read the Greater Manchester Local Skills Report and Labour Market Plan 2022/23 - Data Annexes and Reference (PDF, 1.5Mb)

LSR 2021/22

Read the Greater Manchester Local Skills Report and Labour Market Plan (PDF, 1.6Mb)

Read the Greater Manchester Local Skills Report and Labour Market Plan - Data Annexes and Reference (PDF, 1.2Mb)

Greater Manchester Work and Skills Strategy and Priorities 2016-2019

To deliver this ambition, we have developed the Greater Manchester Work and Skills Strategy, which will help us move towards a future system where:

  • Young people will leave compulsory education well prepared for the world of work and further study.
  • Residents will have the right support to make the best choices about their employment and skills options and have better access to the right integrated support at the right time to enter, progress or sustain employment.
  • Employers are able to grow, have access to and invest in the skills they require, encouraging in work support and wage progression.  Employers will be actively engaged in shaping Greater Manchester’s education and skills system and take responsibility in supporting residents back into work.
  • Employment and skills initiatives will be developed and commissioned at a local level, providing unemployed residents and those furthest from the labour market with the right integrated support required to move them closer to work.
  • Further education and training providers will progress more people into intermediate and advanced level skills in areas linked to Greater Manchester’s growth sectors.
  • Health commissioning will be integrated with work and skills support to capitalise on the fact that ’good work is good for your health’.

To help us achieve this, and to make sure activity is adding value and maximising the impact of Greater Manchester investment and initiatives, there are ten key priorities which we will focus on over the next three years:

  • Improving careers education, information, advice and guidance: to support informed decision-making
  • Reforming the work and skills system to focus on outcomes not outputs: with an outcome framework to  underpin all future commissioning of provision
  • Developing Greater Manchester’s work and skills infrastructure to meet the needs of the economy: working through the Area Based Review, JCP’s Estate Review and the One Public Estate programme
  • Improving attainment from compulsory education: improving achievement of 5+ GCSEs including English and maths at 16 and ensuring more young people achieve a L3 equivalent by the age of 19
  • Strengthening employer engagement: developing a comprehensive approach which puts employers at the heart of the system, from entry level employment to higher level skills
  • Growing the quality and quantity of Apprenticeships: harnessing the opportunities around improved Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance, improved employer engagement and activity linked to the Apprenticeship Levy
  • Developing higher level skills: ensuring a seamless system which supports young people and adults to progress routinely to degree level equivalent skills, and to retain that talent
  • Redesigning universal support provision: providing an integrated and personalised support offer with a view to sustainable job outcomes
  • Developing specialist support for hard-to-reach groups: utilising Working Well and the Work and Health programme to support adults who have been outside the labour market for long periods
  • Ensuring Greater Manchester commissioned programmes have a skills and work focus: working with partners across the ESF, business support and health landscape to ensure all commissioning activity supports delivery of Greater Manchester’s work and skills priorities

Each priority is supported by a programme of activity to drive forward the vision, maximise the potential opportunities available and address some of the challenges that are currently faced in the system. 

Read more about the Greater Manchester Work and Skills Strategy and Priorities 2016-2019

Read the Work and Skills Strategy and Priorities 2016 to 2019 Executive Summary

Flexible Procurement System

GMCA Education, Skills, and Work are pleased to announce the launch of the new Flexible Procurement System (FPS) via The Chest.

Our ambition in Greater Manchester is to create an integrated labour market eco-system which has the individual and employer at its heart, that better responds to the needs of residents, communities and businesses, and which contributes to the inclusive growth and productivity of the GM economy. Our vision is for an integrated education, work and skills system that will help all of our residents to be school ready, life ready and work ready.


In Greater Manchester, we believe apprenticeships can give everyone the chance to start and develop their career, as well as supporting businesses to develop and grow by creating a skilled workforce that meets their needs.

Age-Friendly Employer Toolkit

GMCA has become the first city-region to launch a toolkit designed to help employers reap the benefits of a thriving age-friendly workforce.

Adult Education Budget (AEB)

The AEB, which will transfer from central government to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) from August 2019, will support tens of thousands of the city-region’s residents every year to develop the skills they need for life and work. Worth £92 million, a Greater Manchester place focused partnership of 36 grant and contracted organisations will work together with key stakeholders as a partnership to deliver high quality skills provision for the people of Greater Manchester.

Working Well

Working Well is a family of services that embody Greater Manchester’s devolved employment and health offer. They have been commissioned to support people experiencing or at risk of long-term unemployment.

Bridge GM

Bridge’s aim is to create a link between schools and employers that allows economic benefits to be gained for both young people and the employers within Greater Manchester. Bridge is changing the future landscape of education and improving the economic benefits for young people and employers alike through their positive connections in the local economy.

Greater Manchester Combined Authority is striving to reduce the inequalities of opportunities experienced by our young people so that they can be inspired, motivated and better prepared to tap into the future opportunities of Greater Manchester’s labour market.

Find out more on the Bridge GM website (opens in a new window).

If you are a professional and want to volunteer to support careers education for young people, find out how you can help.

STEM Framework

We want to increase the opportunities for Greater Manchester residents through increasing their science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, knowledge and qualifications as a way of increasing life chances, whether they pursue a STEM related job or not.

There is a shortage of STEM skills locally and nationally, and future job opportunities in Greater Manchester will demand more of these skills. We have plans for large scale STEM based projects such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, alongside wider infrastructure and construction plans. The Local Industrial Strategy sets out key global strengths for Greater Manchester to build on such as health innovation, digital and creative, low carbon industries, and advanced materials and manufacturing. All of these industries will require STEM skills at all levels, and employers are specifically in need of higher level technical skills.

Greater Manchester has a rich skills ecosystem supporting the development of STEM skills. GMCA has developed a STEM Framework to bring together and mobilise skills providers, employers, residents of all ages, and STEM facilitating organisations to increase STEM engagement collaboratively.


Find out more about the STEM Framework.

Work shadowing

We’re encouraging employers across Greater Manchester to offer work shadowing opportunities for young people in their local area.

Our aim is to deliver 1,000 work shadowing opportunities to young people across the region (in school years 7-14) in a variety of business environments, to help them to learn about different roles and careers and to gain first-hand industry experience.

This is an excellent opportunity for employers to meet their future workforces and give young people a clear line of sight into the world of work.

Find out more on the Bridge GM website (opens in a new window).


Our innovative new programme for the self-employed and those working in the gig economy, is now live. The new partnership between the Growth Company and PeoplePlus (GM Growth+) will now enable up to 2,500 of the city-region’s self-employed people and gig workers to sustain and grow their businesses.

Commissioned by GMCA with funding from the Department for Education (DfE), EnterprisingYou is the first programme of its kind in the country to provide free tailor-made support for self-employed people working across any sector.

Support will be provided through one-to-one business coaching, peer mentoring, personal finance management and access to well-networked co-working sites, alongside a range of practical information and advice on business areas such as recruitment of staff, advertising, marketing and insights on business development.

Visit the EnterprisingYou website (opens in a new window) to find out more.

Skills for Growth

The Skills for Growth programme has been designed to fill occupational skills gaps identified from employers, who have continually highlighted that they cannot find the technical skills in Greater Manchester required to support and grow their businesses.

Specific provision is therefore needed that is flexible enough to respond. To respond to this Greater Manchester has secured approximately £40m million pounds of the European Social Fund to deliver Skills for Growth from 2020.

The aim of this three-year programme is to put Greater Manchester in a unique position to build a truly collaborative programme that shapes skills delivery and responds to the skills needs that emerge throughout the course of the programme. The programme will support more than 25,000 individuals and over 3,000 businesses over its duration.

Skills Bootcamps 

Greater Manchester’s Skills Bootcamps are free, flexible courses of up to 16 weeks for adults aged 19 or over. These training courses are fully funded and designed for adults who are either in work, self-employed, unemployed or returning to work after a break. They also help businesses to close skill gaps they’re struggling to fill by giving them access to a high-quality talent pool. After completing the training, participants will fast track to a guaranteed interview with a local employer.

The programme will place a high focus on supporting underrepresented groups including:

  • low paid and unemployed/not in work
  • veterans
  • ex-offenders
  • women
  • ethnic minorities
  • over 50s
  • those returning work after a break/maternity leave
  • people living with a health condition/disability

Skills Bootcamps form part of the Department for Education’s (DfE) £2.5bn ‘National Skills Fund’, which is part of Government’s wider ‘Plan for Jobs’.

Greater Manchester’s NEET and Youth Employment Programme

This programme has been designed to re-engage young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) with learning and employment opportunities in Greater Manchester.

Running between January 2022 and September 2023, it will support 6,000 of the city-region’s most disengaged young people aged between 15 and 24 by providing bespoke advice, guidance and individualised support to make progress. It will take referrals until early 2023.

GMCA has awarded Career Connect and Ingeus with £5million respectively from the European Social Fund to deliver the programme. It is comprised of two strands: FutureYou (opens in a new window), which supports those aged between 18 and 24 years old, and Connect to Your Future (open in a new window) which is working with those aged 15 to 19.

Adult Skills and Lifelong Learning

The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has provided evidence to the Education Select Committee inquiry into the state of Adult Skills and Lifelong Learning. 

Work and Skills Accessibility Statement

We are aware that there are documents in this section that are not fully accessible. We are investigating whether we can make them accessible and aim to complete this work by 30 September 2022.

If you need information on this website in a different format:

  • Email
  • Call 0161 778 7000
  • Write Greater Manchester Combined Authority Broadhurst House 56 Oxford Street Manchester M1 6EU

We’ll consider your request and get back to you.

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