A highly skilled city
A highly skilled workforce is essential to ensure Manchester’s economy continues to thrive. Over the past 15 years, the progress made in improving the skill levels of residents has been a key component in ensuring the city’s overall growth is maintained. The high volume of creative and digital businesses based in the city is rapidly increasing the demand for digital and technical skills. Several fast-track and intensive training courses are now emerging to address this challenge, focusing on improving diversity within the sector and ensuring that there is greater digital inclusion, so that all Manchester residents have a basic level of digital literacy.
The quality of Manchester’s primary and secondary schools continues to improve, with the number being rated as ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted being above the national average. Efforts continue to be made to ensure the outcomes of all Manchester children at all levels of education are in line with national results. The closure of schools due to COVID-19 has hugely affected young people in the city. Despite remote learning and home schooling, there are likely to be attainment setbacks in future years. It is anticipated that there will be a generation of school and college leavers who will be affected by the downturn in the economy due to COVID-19 and the introduction of schemes by the Government such as Kickstart have been introduced to mitigate against a new generation of benefit dependants and move young people into work.
Despite the strength and resilience of Manchester’s economy, there are still significant challenges to overcome to connect all Manchester’s residents to the city’s growth. Among certain communities, there remain concentrations of residents with low or no qualifications, alongside issues of social exclusion and poor health. There also remains a disparity between the earnings of those working in the city and those living in the city. The Council became an accredited Living Wage Employer in late 2019 and is committed to working with a range of partners and business networks to raise awareness of the challenges of low wages in the city.