Greater Manchester Careers Community of Practice

We want Greater Manchester to be a place where everyone can live a good life, growing up, getting on and growing old in a greener, fairer more prosperous city region.” Greater Manchester Strategy 

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is working to support and help prepare young people to actively participate and thrive in the economy. We are doing this by building on their ambitions, qualities, and skills in order for them to have fair access to the opportunities available across the sub-region.  

More than ever, it is vital the Greater Manchester's young people are connected to and have experiences of the world of work. 

Young people who have four or more encounters with employers are 86% less likely to be unemployed, or not in education/training when they leave school/college. 

What is the Greater Manchester Careers Community of Practice? 

GMCA is working with a dynamic network of stakeholders to strengthen the careers education system by creating an environment where a community of businesses, careers professionals and specialists can come together with shared purpose and intent to improve outcomes for young people.  

The community participants are empowered to:     

  • Engage proactively in the system and participate in decision making to enhance the outcomes for young people. 
  • Exchange and develop deeper knowledge, learning and best practice. 
  • Collaborate, identify and tackle the system barriers to maximise opportunities for young people.  

The Greater Manchester (GM) Community of Practice is managed by the Careers team, which is part of the GMCA Education, Work and Skills Directorate. The team works in strategic partnership with the Careers and Enterprise Company (CEC) to deliver the national Careers Hub model. 

The Community of Practice model is progressive with quality assurance at the center, using CEC’s Careers Impact System, Employer Standards, the Future Skills Questionnaire as well as a number of local data sets such as BeeWell survey as a framework. 

The GM Community of Practice, the second largest outside London, consists of over 230 schools and colleges across Greater Manchester committed to ensuring every young person in our city-region has the best chance to succeed and make their best next step. This includes alternative provision and SEND schools (schools for young people with special education needs and disabilities). In total, around 200,000 young people aged 11 to 19 are being supported. 

Why is the GM Careers Community of Practice important? 

The GM Careers Community of Practice exists to: 

  • Enable every young person to explore the different options and career paths available to them, to help them make informed decisions about their future. 
  • Remove barriers and tackle disadvantage, as well as raise the aspirations and motivation of young people. 
  • Support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as those with additional needs. 
  • Promote technical and vocational pathways and ensuring these are given parity with academic routes. 
  • Reduce the number of young people who become NEET (not in education, employment, or training). 
  • Support employers’ talent pipelines, address skills gaps, and boost recruitment; particularly in growth sectors. 

How the GM Careers Community of Practice works together? 

With the support from the Careers team, the GM Careers Community of Practice collaborate to create a high quality, sustainable and inclusive pan-GM system for careers and skills. 

  • Schools and colleges share best practice and work on shared priorities to drive improvements. 
  • Local employers connect with schools and colleges, to foster effective partnerships and provide high-quality future talent insights. 
  • A range of stakeholders work strategically to align with local education, work and skills priorities through strong partnerships. 

How can businesses and industry help? 

The Careers team are always looking for volunteers from the world of work to support careers education in schools and colleges. 

There are many benefits for the volunteers as well as their organisation, including: 

  • Connect your organisation to meaningful volunteering opportunities across GM. 
  • Build a long-lasting connection to an institution. 
  • Connect your organisation to the wider Education, Skills and Work ecosystem throughout GM. 
  • Raise awareness and promote opportunities in your organisation and industry. 
  • Connect to a large support network of businesses and industry professionals. 

We need people willing to engage young people with their work and their career journey. For instance, this could be by: 

  1. Being an Enterprise Advisers 
    Use your industry expertise and connections to volunteer to be an Enterprise Adviser, supporting a school/college to develop a sustainable careers programme with the local labour market and young people at its heart. You will join a network of over 200 Enterprise Advisers who are making a positive impact on the local community and young people. 
  2. Taking part in Meet your Future 
    Meet Your Future is our successful experience of the workplace campaign. Meet Your Future offers your organisation a chance to de-mystify the workplace to young people and provide them with an insight into the types of jobs that people do within your organisation/sector. You can host a Workplace Safari, which involves a group of students visiting a real workplace for either a full day or part day. Hosting a Workplace Safari provides a great opportunity to engage with your staff through a rewarding volunteering opportunity that takes place at work, but it also helps to develop your talent pipeline.
  3. Providing digital content for GMACS
    The Greater Manchester Apprenticeship and Careers Service (GMACS) is a Mayoral supported platform, a ‘one-stop-shop' of information and tools to support Greater Manchester’s young people in their plans for their future. We are looking to build our resource bank for young people, schools, and colleges. This is an opportunity to provide videos, insights, challenges, and opportunities to highlight your organisation to young people across Greater Manchester. 

Primary Careers Pilot Community of Practice 

We are currently running the ‘Start Small; Dream Big’ primary careers programme, a project delivered in partnership with the Careers and Enterprise Company.  The pilot sits within our Careers Community of Practice expansion and we are thrilled to be working with a group of 150 primary schools testing out a primary model across Greater Manchester. 

The goal of the ‘Start Small; Dream Big’ pilot is to encourage children from disadvantaged backgrounds to think big about their future careers, challenge early stereotypes and raise awareness of future opportunities and pathways.  The pilot targets primary schools in Education Investment Areas and those with above 23% Free School Meal, and wider disadvantage. 

This pilot gives eligible schools the opportunity to be part of an innovative national programme of activity and research, influencing and shaping future policy decisions on primary career-related learning. Through participation in this programme, career-related learning and skills development will become embedded into curriculum teaching, leading to an enhanced curriculum that will positively impact careers related learning outcomes across the whole school.   Children will benefit from encounters with employers and parents/guardians will be provided with careers information and guidance.  

If your school would like to find out more about the pilot GM Primary Careers Community of Practice, please get in touch with our Primary Careers Programme Pilot Team. 

To get involved

If you would like to get involved in the GM Careers Community of Practice or have any questions, please email us at We endeavour to respond to all enquiries within 10 working days.