Sports field with goal posts and houses in the distance

Our Strategy

Since the apprenticeship reforms of 2017, nearly 75,000 people in Greater Manchester have started apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are a great way for businesses to grow and develop their staff and for individuals to learn new skills and build their career.

At GMCA, our ambition is for Greater Manchester to have a thriving and vibrant Apprenticeships and Technical Education landscape, where:

  • There is equity and diversity across the Apprenticeships and Technical Education Landscape
  • Employers are aware of the benefits of engaging with Apprenticeships and Technical Education in their organisation and know how to do it
  • Potential learners and apprentices understand the options and routes available to them
  • Providers can get the intelligence and staff capability they need to deliver to meet GM’s needs
  • There are clear progression pathways through technical education 

To support these aims, GMCA has several apprenticeship projects.

Removing Barriers to Apprenticeships (RBA)

The RBA programme is a collection of 7 small projects across GM which each tackles barriers to apprenticeships including gender, ethnicity, personal circumstance (lone parents), learning disabilities and age. These projects are intended to test new approaches and help us to understand what kinds of interventions are most effective.



Men in the Early Years

A collaboration between Kids Planet nursery provider and the Fatherhood Institute offering apprenticeships for men in the Early Years education sector

Ethnic Minority Engineers

Rochdale Training will offer pre-apprenticeship training and secure apprenticeship roles for young people from ethnic minorities to learn engineering skills in Rochdale

SCC Supported Apprenticeships

Salford City Council, Salford City College, ForHousing and Career Connect will create supported apprenticeships for young learners with SEND

Single Parent Teaching Assistants

Rochdale Training, Rochdale Borough Council, Positive Steps and Job Centre Plus are creating a minimum of 10 Teaching Assistant apprenticeships for single parents

Digital Supported Apprenticeship

The White Room, Total People, Manchester City Council and Pure Innovations are offering 15 places in the digital sector for young people with SEND

Oldham 16-25 year olds

Oldham Council, Northern Care Alliance and Positive Steps are facilitating apprenticeships for young people in Oldham with additional barriers to employment

Coldhurst Ward, Oldham

Single parents, BAME residents and those with mental health conditions living in the Coldhurst ward will be supported into apprenticeship roles

The projects are ongoing and have a target of achieving at least 10 sustained apprenticeship starts per project. The RBA programme is evaluated by an external organisation, and we will share what we learn with external partners and use it to inform our work in the future.

Greater Manchester Apprenticeship & Careers Service (GMACS)

GMACS is a website which presents apprenticeships and all other options for post-16 study and training in one place, giving young people a clear line of sight for their futures.

Young people can search and apply for live apprenticeships in Greater Manchester through GMACS. They can also access a wide range of information about careers, education, wellbeing, and youth representation in GM.

GMACS was one of the Mayor’s manifesto pledges, along with free bus travel for all 16-18 year-olds, and is part of a careers programme which supports schools, colleges and students, across Greater Manchester.

Visit the GMACS website (opens in a new window)

Apprenticeship Levy Matchmaking Service

The Apprenticeship Levy Matchmaking Service is GMCA-funded service which helps large companies to share funding with smaller businesses in Greater Manchester who would like to offer apprenticeships. This means that 100% of the apprenticeship training costs can be covered.

The Levy Matchmaking Service is free to use and has facilitated over 400 apprenticeship starts across Greater Manchester so far. GMCA has committed to funding the service until 2023.

Visit the Levy Matchmaking Service website (opens in a new window)

Apprenticeships for older people

Apprenticeships are available to people of any age, including over-50s, but there is a lingering perception that apprenticeships are only for young people, and those at the very start of their careers. People of any age can re-train, improving their skills, or pursue a new career by undertaking an apprenticeship programme.

Working with the Greater Manchester Ageing Hub we are promoting apprenticeships as an opportunity for anyone, at any age, to develop or change direction.

Read our report on Apprenticeships for Older People - July 2021 (PDF, 587KB), developed in partnership with the GM Ageing Hub.

Greater Manchester Apprenticeship and Technical Education Intermediaries Network

The GM Intermediaries Network brings together intermediary organisations across GM to share updates, knowledge and best practice, identify shared demand across the region, and to be a voice to input in work and skills initiatives going forwards.

The network meets quarterly and is open to new members. If you are an intermediary organisation that works with multiple employers across GM, such as a sector body or membership organisation, please contact Amy Glanville (email) for more information.

Public sector

We work closely with our colleagues across local authorities, NHS, police, fire and transport services to ensure apprenticeships are at the heart of the public sector. We facilitate the GM Public Sector Apprenticeship Employer Network which brings employers together to discuss their work, identify challenges in the sector, and work together to maximise the investment for Greater Manchester.

If you are part of a public sector organisation in GM and would like to join the network, please contact Amy Glanville (email).

The Apprenticeship Hub

We run the Greater Manchester Apprenticeship Hub, which is a marketing and communications project to provide impartial advice and information on apprenticeships for Greater Manchester, ultimately increasing take up of apprenticeships across the city region. We also meet regularly with our counterparts across the country to share best practice.

The Apprenticeship Hub uses the #SeeDifferent brand, and you can follow our social media accounts here: Twitter Instagram Linkedin Facebook

Skills for Growth

The Skills for Growth SME Support programme offers an apprenticeship specialist service which supports SMEs in GM to develop their business by offering apprenticeships both to new and existing staff.

The Growth Company have been delivering SME Support since October 2020. For more details, please visit their website (opens in new tab).

Find out more about the Skills for Growth programme at GMCA

Previous work

Apprentices from ethnic minorities

Find out about our previous work on Ensuring there are no barriers for people from ethnic minorities can access apprenticeships.

We were part of the national 5 Cities Project (opens in a new window) and worked with employers, providers and individuals to ensure Greater Manchester has a diverse apprenticeship workforce

View the BAME Employer Resource


We developed a Greater Manchester small-to-medium enterprise apprenticeship package, which included grants for non-levy paying employers, support with workforce planning to highlight where apprentices could fit in with the business, a levy matchmaking service (opens in new window), and the roll-out of criteria to make you a quality apprentice employer.

We evaluated the impact of the SME support package, and as a result we will continue to fund the GM Apprenticeship Levy Matchmaker until 2023. We are also supporting and developing wraparound support for SME employers with workforce development advice, signposting, and support through the Skills for Growth SME Support programme.

Read the full SME Support Package Evaluation Report - April 2021 (PDF, 527KB)