We want to increase the opportunities for Greater Manchester residents by increasing their science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills, knowledge and qualifications as a way of increasing life chances, whether they decide to pursue a STEM related job or not.
There is a well reported 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.
This framework aims to achieve some specific outcomes:
Greater Manchester residents of all ages and in all areas will be confident that they understand the STEM opportunities available to them in Greater Manchester and how they can enter STEM occupations. Residents will know where to access STEM job and training opportunities and will value their STEM skills, qualifications and knowledge as a way to get on in life. They will be excited about STEM projects, research and development happening in our region.
For STEM-based employers, Greater Manchester will be a place to set up businesses and have confidence in accessing a diverse workforce with the right skills. Employers will be supported to action plan for skills and progress and upskill those already within their industry and SMEs will feel supported to do this.
Educators and skills providers in Greater Manchester will create an employer-led curriculum for shortage STEM occupations. Educators will be confident and responsive to quickly changing employer requirements. There will be clearer pathways to STEM occupations with high quality skills provision which supports learners to have the right STEM competencies as well as qualifications. Learners will get the opportunity to understand how technology and low carbon innovations will affect the sector they want to work in.
Organisations supporting STEM skills will be encouraged to unite around common aims and objectives and collaborate together to ensure they best represent what employers need and work together to get the right careers information to residents in Greater Manchester who could most benefit. They will better understand how to connect people that engage with them to wider opportunities and support.
There will be an employer-led approach to identify and increase the pipeline for the priority occupations we need now and in the future. Simultaneously, the framework will also tackle long-term challenges related to STEM such as negative perceptions and stereotypes. Greater Manchester has some high quality work going on already in this area and the framework will ensure Greater Manchester best utilises the existing resources.
There are four main areas of delivery:
Increase the talent pipeline for some specific occupations where we know we need jobs now and in the future. The priority will look as occupations needed for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. This approach ensures good models are created for unpicking specific challenges which can be applied to other STEM occupations.
Mobilising social value to drive the right STEM engagement from employers
We will support STEM contractors to deliver quality social value offers which make an impact in increasing STEM skills, help employers work collaboratively with their supply chain and help them in measure the impact of their efforts.This work will see a pilot project to create an employer toolkit for offering STEM engagements with schools and colleges. This pilot will look at how we bring some consistency of approach by utilising initiatives under Bridge GM and encouraging support through the Good Employment Charter.
Making Greater Manchester residents aware of the opportunity
There is a lot of work to be done to get key messages out to communities about the pipeline of STEM opportunities and jobs over the next 20 years. Specifically, we need to reach those who previously hadn’t engaged with STEM and are unlikely to understand how they could benefit.
This year, GMCA is leading a pilot project with around 30 community groups working with STEM Clubs and the Science Museum Group to increase STEM engagements with local employers across Greater Manchester.
GMCA is leading on several family events at the Science and Industry Museum over the next 12 months to get STEM skills messages to families around designing, engineering and constructing the Greater Manchester of the future. We welcome employers to get in touch who want to be involved.
Raising the profile of STEM
There is a need to highlight our STEM successes in Greater Manchester and showcase good practice at all levels including engaging the very young in STEM to upskilling and retraining specific groups so that they can progress within STEM industries. In November 2019, GMCA celebrated examples of good STEM collaboration at the Science and Industry Museum.
If you want to know more about the STEM Framework and how you can get involved please contact STEM and HS2 Programme Manager, Nichola Wallworth.