JGP0056

Written evidence submitted by Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA)

 

KEY MESSAGES

  • Government policy and investment targeted at the right functional economic geography can make a positive difference to economic growth and the national recovery from COVID-19. This includes supporting the development of globally competitive cities in every part of the UK as set out in the Government’s ‘Plan for growth’. Competitive cities are the hubs where networks of talent, businesses, innovators and investors connect to create ideas, development and exciting places to live and work.
  • Greater Manchester (GM) is well placed to continue its path to becoming a globally competitive city region within the North West, being home to 2.8 million people, over 120,000 businesses, one of the UK’s largest international airports, and the largest labour market outside the South East with 6 million people living within an hour’s travel time. The past decade saw strong growth in GM’s economy, which is now larger than the economy of Wales, reflecting the city-region’s growing attractiveness as a place to live and do business. Pre-COVID19, GM was forecast to outperform the UK in GVA and employment and had scope for growth exceeding any other city-based economy outside London.
  • A successful recovery from COVID-19 in the regions means that places like GM can be the anchors of the UK’s future growth, international trade, and levelling up.
  • The long history of public-private collaboration in GM and the introduction of the Combined Authority and six devolution deals has created structures to maximise the impacts of investment and ensure growth and development in one part of GM drives prosperity in other towns, boroughs and cities.
  • But we know much still needs to be done to secure future success locally and nationally. The GM Independent Prosperity Review identified ‘human capital factors’ - education and skills alongside poor health - as the most powerful explanations of low productivity in our economy, and these factors must be addressed to rebalance the UK economy. The links between poor physical and mental health and economic performance are particularly concerning as we recover from a pandemic, especially for areas that already had poorer health outcomes. Health and economic policy must be more closely aligned.
  • Areas that were worst hit by the 2008 financial crisis will have even fewer resources to recover after COVID19. Policy must be targeted to increase resilience to future shocks in these places by increasing human resource capacity, including by locating innovation centres, skilled jobs, and investment in these places, and focussing on providing secure, meaningful jobs with decent pay.
  • GM welcomes the policy commitments in the recent Further Education Reform White Paper to enable more flexible, modular learning. However, centralised education and skills policy and implementation will have limited impacts, given the UK doesnt have a single homogeneous labour market or economy, but instead a series of local ones.
  • It is important to consider which groups of people and businesses are most likely to be affected by transitions in industries and roles and target support accordingly. Businesses in sectors undergoing significant transitions need support to develop their workforce as they adopt new technologies, to help ensure upskilling of existing workers and meaningful, well-paid, and productive employment.
  • The national economic response to the pandemic has been effective in avoiding some of the worst impacts the pandemic could have had, but lessons should be learned for local-national responses to economic crises – particularly if there is a need for ongoing restrictions or to re-introduce ‘lock-down’ type measures. E.g. there is scope to reform both sick pay and self-isolation payments, as well as support for self-employed people.
  1. About Greater Manchester Combined Authority

1.1.  The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) is made up of the ten Greater Manchester councils (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan) and the Mayor of Greater Manchester.

1.2.  The GMCA is run jointly by the ten council leaders and the Mayor of Greater Manchester. A variety of boards, panels and committees address specific areas like transport, health and social care, planning, and housing.

1.3.  The ten councils have voluntarily worked together for many years, predating the formation of the GMCA, on issues affecting the region, including transport, regeneration, and investment.

 

  1. Response to the Call for Evidence

How much difference can government policy make to economic growth?

 

2.1.  Government policy and investment targeted at the right functional economic geography can make a positive difference to economic growth and the national recovery following the pandemic. This includes supporting the development of globally competitive city-regions in every part of the UK, which contain complex networks of talent, businesses, sectors, innovators and investors.

Case study - Innovation GM: to deliver on our shared aims of Levelling Up, Net Zero, and Global Britain, public-private-scientific communities have come together develop a blueprint for city-region wide action called ‘Innovation GM’.

Innovation GM is our plan to answer two questions: 1) how do we get maximum return-on-investment for spending on R&D, and 2) how do we ensure it translates into real productivity gains, good jobs and a competitive business base across the towns, cities and regions of the UK?

The Innovation GM platform is built around the city-region’s world leading strengths in advanced materials, health innovation, digital, cyber and creative industries, and clean growth. Central to the Innovation GM vision is to harness these strengths to ensure they bring prosperity to people and places in the city-region, and the wider North.

 

We see significant opportunities to boost the resilience of the UK economy by unlocking the manufacturing potential of our towns, and by boosting the business start-up and scale-up offer in both towns and cities. Our pipeline includes significant innovation zone developments such as the Rochdale-Bury Gateway North, Innovation District Manchester, and Salford Innovation Triangle. The right investment could enable us to move further and faster to deliver tangible gains within the lifetime of this Parliament. Through a deeper national-local partnership, underpinned by a flexible innovation fund, we can unlock 100,000 jobs and £7bn of wider economic benefit.

 

The forthcoming national Innovation Strategy and R&D Place Plan present key opportunities to take action. Our blueprint is detailed in full at Innovation Greater Manchester provides blueprint for collaboration (gmlep.com)

 

2.2.  The role of National Government should be to provide the investment, strategy, foresight and direction to steer and grow the UK economy, working across Whitehall to avoid policy silos and encourage joined up, holistic policy thinking. Government must work flexibly and in partnership with UK regions, Combined Authorities and Local Authorities to inform need and shape approaches as what drives growth in one region is not the same as elsewhere. Localities offer the opportunity for government to understand and test the interplay of different Departments’ policies and programmes and interventions in a functional economic area in ways that are not possible at central government level, co-designing approaches to build regional capabilities and truly informed policy making.

2.3.  The recent ‘Build Back Better: Plan for Growth, published at Budget, stated the Government’s most important mission is to tackle geographic disparities, support struggling towns to regenerate and to ensure every region and nation of the UK has at least one globally competitive city”. We welcome this focus on geography from Government, and the recognition of the role of internationally focussed and dynamic cities across all regions in the UK have for future prosperity and growth. But we would argue that cities and towns should be considered together as mutually dependent and connected parts of functional economic geographies, with shared labour markets and supply chains. In recent years the UK’s fastest growing and most vibrant towns have been those connected to its most competitive cities, including Reading and Slough, Altrincham and Stockport.

2.4.   Greater Manchester (GM) is well placed to continue its path to becoming a globally competitive city region within the North West. GM is home to 2.8 million people, living in dozens of towns and 2 cities over 10 local authorities and over 120,000 businesses. It has one of the UK’s largest international airports with routes to 200+ international destinations, and the largest labour market outside the South East with 6 million people living within an hour’s travel time. The past decade has seen strong growth in GM’s economy, reflecting the city-region’s growing attractiveness as a place to live and do business, with GM’s economy now larger than the economy of Wales and comprises 19.4% of the Northern Powerhouse GVA and 19.2% of total workplace employment in the North. Pre-COVID 19, GM was forecast to outperform the UK in terms of both GVA and employment growth to 2020 and has scope for growth that exceeds the potential of any other city-based economy outside London.

2.5.  Policy designed to deliver economic growth and levelling up will only deliver if national and local government work collectively to co-design and progress place-based interventions and investment which can adapt to the granularity of the local skills, knowledge and business base of regional economies. In areas with large conurbations, this requires coherent and coordinated action to create impact. For example, analysis undertaken for the GM Independent Prosperity Review (IPR) demonstrated that the mix of industries across the city-region creates opportunities for people to move between roles and sectors concentrated in different parts of the conurbation, but this is contingent on the right regional transport and skills infrastructure being in place to ensure equal access to work and education for people who live in different parts of the city-region.

2.6.  GM has a unique partnership model at the centre of its strategies for business and growth. The GM Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the GMCA provide collective leadership through a shared vision and priorities for the city region, and they jointly own the GM Local Industrial Strategy (LIS). This overarching partnership, together with crucial specialist groups focus like the Employment and Skills Advisory Panel, provides strategic oversight of growth and regeneration, education and skills, business support, innovation and infrastructure development, and can coordinate and overlay them to support local strengths and address local weaknesses. This has enabled GM to create attractive places to live, work and invest across the conurbation.

2.7.  Finally, Government policy determines the type of economic growth achieved, and whether it leads to reductions in regional and individual inequalities and whether it increases or decreases resilience to future shocks. The places that were least resilient to the 2008 financial crisis now have even less capacity to recover from COVID-19, and these regions should be targeted with more funding and policy to increase human resource capacity, including by locating innovation centres, skilled jobs, and investment. Moving forwards policy must also be focussed on providing secure, meaningful jobs with decent pay. In January 2020, GMCA launched the GM Good Employment Charter to support employers to develop good jobs, deliver opportunities for people to progress, and help employers in the city-region grow and succeed. At the time of writing, the Charter has engaged over 230 employers covering more than 200,000 employees. The characteristics of the Charter go beyond traditional measures of success and economic activity to encourage grounded, sustainable business models, with organisations that have a positive impact in their localities. A national emphasis on “Good Employment” and work that provides a ‘Living Wage’ and ‘Living Hours’ could rapidly accelerate the resilience-building activity that is already being pioneered by the Mayors of Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, London and North of Tyne.

 

What are the causes of the gap in the UK’s level of productivity compared to other advanced economies, and why has productivity growth been persistently weak in the aftermath of the 2007-09 financial crisis?

2.8.  The GM Independent Prosperity Review (IPR), conducted by 6 internationally renowned economists, provided an in-depth assessment of the city-region’s economy and its evolution since 2009. The IPR found that GM’s economy is the most diverse in the country, includes the highest numbers of new start-up firms in the UK, and has highly productive exporting businesses in every sector. However, the evidence also found the same problems in our economy that have caused the UK to have systemically lower productivity than comparator countries in recent decades. These include low levels of business investment in innovation; the need to improve management and leadership skills and the need to increase the international connectivity of local businesses. The Review also identified the prevalence of physical and mental health inequalities and long-term conditions among working age adults, poor qualification levels in some areas, and the need to give young people a clear line of sight to the jobs of the future as key barriers to future growth and development in GM. The reviewer’s positioned these ‘human capital factors’ as the most powerful explanations of productivity in GM, and they are core assets for rebalancing the UK economy. Health should feature far more prominently as a factor determining economic growth, labour market participation, productivity and business viability.

2.9.  The IPR also found that there are still challenges accessing skilled labour in some sectors and areas, and that increasing productivity requires a concerted effort to develop new ways to increase the leadership and management skills in business. GM has developed a new GM Leadership and Management programme in conjunction with the city-region’s business schools, that will launch in 2021. We are engaging with the department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) as the national Help to Grow: Management training offer evolves, and we would be willing to provide more information to the committee on the emerging lessons from this programme.

2.10.                    Digital exclusion is also a significant barrier to local economic growth and productivity. In GM over 1.2m residents are not taking full advantage of the work, education and quality of life-related opportunities that full digital engagement can enable. Digital inequalities create further disadvantage particularly in access to education, healthcare, services, information leading to broader social and financial exclusion. There is also a direct economic impact, and The Good Things Foundation estimates that by 2028 the UK will be missing out on almost £22bn of Gross Value Add (GVA) as a direct result of digital exclusion. Although the Government has supported some device and technology provision for vulnerable people during the pandemic, there does not appear to be a broader, long-term Government programme for addressing digital exclusion and digital poverty in recovery plans so far. The Government’s ‘Ten Tech Priorities reference digital exclusion only in relation to digital skills for employment, rather than the skills for life approach that would have broader and deeper economic as well as social impacts. On digital infrastructure, the Government could address digital poverty by amending the current minimum pricing regulations so telecommunication providers can provide more accessible connectivity packages, especially for individuals and families who are on lower incomes, benefits or have a poor credit score.

2.11.                    Affordable and accessible transport connectivity is also a key factor in the UK’s productivity. We support the emphasis on infrastructure spending within the ‘Plan for Growth’ as a means to improve productivity, particularly the focus on intra-city transport settlements, which recognise the need to improve connectivity between boroughs, towns, cities and regions. GM has already begun transforming its own transport infrastructure and will continue to reform the bus network and increase cycling and walking and the use of public transport to ensure equal access to jobs and education, and to reduce congestion, carbon emissions and air pollution.

2.12.                    The recovery from the 2008 financial crisis in many places included an increase in insecure and low-paid employment, and business investment in innovation and other productivity enhancing investments has remained low in regions outside the South East. For example, in GM average resident earnings (taking account of inflation) rose significantly up to the start of the 2008 recession (rising 1.8% per annum from 1998 to 2008) but fell by 0.8% per annum between 2010 and 2016. This is equally true of workplace earnings which, increased by 2.0% per annum 1998-2008 (faster than the UK average excluding London) but fell by 0.7% per annum from 2010 to 2016. These trends were accompanied by rise in ‘atypical’ forms of employment in foundational sectors, which are often unstable and/or low paid and lack routes for progression and investment. As foundational sector jobs make up the vast majority of work in many places across the UK, improving these sectors is as important to the UK’s economic performance as generating more high-skilled and typically high GVA jobs in science or technology.

 

How successful has the Government’s pandemic response been in protecting jobs to date, and how can it help reduce and mitigate the economic scarring effects of the pandemic going forward?

 

3.1  The Government should be commended for the response to the pandemic to protect jobs and businesses, such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) which was delivered at pace, with broad coverage of the target population. There was also an extensive offer of business support, through both the Bounce Back Loans Scheme and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), in addition to a number of grants distributed by local authorities. GM supplemented elements of this nationally funded support at a local level, making best use of our local knowledge and the excellent partnership working across the city region. For example, £3m of local funding was allocated to create a ‘CBILS for Greater Manchester’ to provide loans to companies who do not fit standard bank criteria for lending, and £10m used to create a GM Bounce Back Loan fund. £1.2m of ERDF funding was reprogrammed to support to businesses impacted by COVID to access IT/Digital equipment, switch to online and remote working and get specialist advice.

 

3.2  Although the national economic response to the pandemic was welcome, lessons should be learned if the Government were required to implement restrictions on businesses and individuals at any point in the future. There is scope to reform both sick pay and the criteria for the discretionary isolation payments administered by local authorities to ensure that those individuals who are unable to work from home are adequately compensated. This would enable workers to look after their own health and that of others, without any immediate competing financial concerns. The need for adequate sick pay will outlive the crisis phase of the pandemic as those individuals who do contract Covid-19 should still be encouraged to isolate, even in the absence of national restrictions.

 

3.3  There should also be a first principle of providing support for beyond the anticipated length of any crisis to avoid the cliff edges – e.g. between the renewal of the CJRS and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) over the course of the last year, where previous decisions about their duration were made and announced at short notice. Thought should also be given to the ongoing welfare of those who did not meet the eligibility criteria for the schemes due to their work status or the date at which they began trading. The gaps in support for the self-employed were understandable at the start of the crisis but more could have been done to rectify these issues, with an appropriate and proportionate approach to the risk of fraud. There were also discrepancies between the CJRS and SEISS which undermined the overall coherence of support. For example, both payments were capped but there was no earning limit for the CJRS, although one was in place for SEISS. This raises questions of fairness when an employee earning over £50,000 per annum can access support but a trader with identical profits was not eligible.

 

3.4  There are numerous potential interventions to consider to mitigate the economic scarring effects of the pandemic, although one area of focus should be supporting the self-employed and business owners to drive the recovery. This is a central tenet of the ‘Plan for Growth’ which stresses the need to use government levers – local, regional, and national – to build an environment conducive to business growth and investment. GM has been the pilot area for the Enterprising You (EY) programme, funded by the Department for Education and commissioned by the GMCA. EY was launched in February 2020 and is an innovative new programme designed to help self-employed people up-skill and access professional development over 6 months of fully funded support, including 1:1 guidance from a Business Coach, peer mentoring from experienced business owners, and access to shared learning spaces. Emerging results are positive, despite having to pivot and shift aspects of the programme to support self-employed individuals who were ineligible for government C19 support. The pilot is due to finish in April 2022, and we would be happy to share findings from delivery to inform any wider rollout.

 

3.5  The delivery of digital skills and infrastructure across each and every one of our sectors and communities will also be essential to building back a more efficient and better-connected economy which will be crucial as the nation moves to more dynamic ways of working beyond the traditional 9-to-5 office-based format. In response to Covid-19 we have already brought forward a number of priorities identified in the GM Digital Blueprint. For example, retraining over 1000 residents from diverse groups into specialist digital roles through the Digital Fast Track Fund The Blueprint and GM LIS guide our work to deliver the ambition for GM to be a top-five European digital city-region and frontrunner of the UK’s digital revolution.

 

3.6  While the package of education, skills and employment support has been broadly welcome, some elements have been more fit for purpose than others. We welcomed the approach taken by Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to engage with localities, devolving the Job Entry Target Support (JETS) scheme to GM, enabling us to align this support with the wider suite of activity delivered through the devolved GM Working Well (Work & Health Programme) and, more recently, involving MCAs and LEPs in the commissioning of support for the long-term unemployed. In considering education and skills, much of the early response was – perhaps understandably – focused on young people, but support to re-skill adults (19+ years) was much slower and engagement with localities to determine the best way to use skills support as one of the tools through which to mitigate economic scarring has been disappointing, particularly the by-passing of Skills Advisory Panels which were set up at the Department for Education’s (DfEs) direction to be the key authority on skills needs and miss-matches in each place. In addition, the ‘one size fits all’ approach of the national adult skills offer – such as the expanded Level 3 entitlement for adults – failed to take account of the needs of local labour markets. The focus on qualifications deemed as ‘high value’ means swathes of workers and employers in the foundational economy in particular were unable to benefit from the national offer. In these cases, MCAs such as GMCA were able to act quickly through our devolved adult skills functions and adult education budget to meet gaps. However, non-devolved areas might have experienced more difficulties in providing skills support that linked residents with jobs.

 

3.7  Finally, sustained attention to the future of high streets, town and city centres across GM and the country is required, especially as trends towards e-commerce have accelerated during the pandemic. Vibrant, multi-purpose high streets with a mix of retailers and leisure offers will be important to mitigate any long last economic scarring and will be vital in shaping place and improving the quality of life for local residents. We welcome the work that is already taking place through the High Streets Taskforce and look forward to working with Government on the review of Business Rates due later this year.

 

Do economic statistics adequately capture growth in the modern economy, and what lessons can be learned from the pandemic about the measurement of economic activity?

2.13.                    The future economy should be one where business can still be profitable and sustainable, but not at any cost. The pandemic has shown us the vital importance of workers in the foundational, or ‘everyday’ economy which employs over 60% of our workforce in Greater Manchester – this includes carers and childminders, people who are emptying bins, staffing hospital wards, delivering parcels, operating our transport systems, stacking shelves in shops and keeping water, electricity and digital connectivity running into our homes.

2.14.                    Everyone in the country relies on the goods and services that these workers provide, but the value of their jobs is not reflected in their pay, working conditions and employment rights, or in measures of GVA. Workers and businesses in these sectors have kept us safe and well through the crisis and there is now an obligation to help secure a stable and resilient future for them.

2.15.                    Traditional metrics of economic success are not always applicable to these areas of the economy nor do they capture the true value of the labour being performed. A narrow focus on productivity does not consider the quality of any service, nor the pay and conditions of the job. This is particularly acute for jobs like those in adult social care, where there is no separation between the act of care or the labour and the output, as they are one and the same. A focus on outputs in this type of sector can actually lower the quality of the outcome in some circumstances. The cost of a job or a service is very different to its value, and this must be reflected moving forwards, especially for getting a better understanding of the economy in places where the foundational economy represents a significant proportion of employment. A focus on the other factors that drive productivity - including health inequalities and long-term conditions - as part of the conversation about the UK’s economy would also create a better understanding amongst policymakers, businesses and others on where they should concentrate investment for long-term gain.

2.16.                    Finally, many parts of the UK will have felt they were still recovering from the 2008 financial crisis when the pandemic and ensuing economic disruption hit last year. The impact of two major economic events in such close proximity should lead to more emphasis on measuring the economic resilience of places. A partial understanding of economic resilience can be developed by assessing the number of people employed in declining industries and occupations in an area, reliance on single large employers, the proportion of the population in growing industries and occupations, net rates of business creation and growth, and the proportion of the population with higher level qualifications. However, these types of measures do not capture the other components of resilience – including a place’s ability to flex and manage change successfully. Measuring this would require an understanding of local public and private resources and reserves, and the extent of the local networks and connections that enable an effective response.

2.17.                    This understanding of resilience should be supplemented with the provision of improved official data on the performance of local economies and labour markets.  The timeliness and availability of this data will be fundamental for more effective monitoring of future economic shocks. The Government does hold central datasets but does not have the appropriate sharing mechanisms in place with local regions. The pandemic exposed the paucity of timely economic data, particularly for sub-regional geographies, with the delays in receiving unemployment, GVA, and trade data often so long that the situation had changed dramatically by the time the information became available. This lack of real time data on the local economy constrained the ability of local partners to examine how the GM economy was responding to a period of crisis, which in turn limited our ability to provide meaningful feedback to Government on the impact of the crisis and the effectiveness of the response. The GMCA now exercises functions and undertakes policymaking for the region that was previously the reserve of Whitehall in organisations such as BEIS and DWP. Good governance therefore suggests that we and other Combined Authorities should have the same information to inform our decisions that are available to those departments.

 

What policies are effective in helping people to reskill, move between occupations and sectors and take advantage of new opportunities? How could these be best implemented in the aftermath of the pandemic, and as technological developments such as artificial intelligence change the nature of work?

2.18.                    We welcome the policy commitments in the recent Further Education (FE) Reform White Paper to enable more flexible, modular learning that is responsive to the needs of individuals and employers. This approach is already seeing some success in GM, with short, intensive training programmes focused on occupational competence in skills shortage vacancies and co-designed with employers and providers, moving people into jobs as part of the Fast-Track Digital Workforce ‘bootcamp’ pilot in GM and Lancashire. Despite the challenging labour market conditions, significant numbers of participants have secured and sustained employment upon completion of the programme, with a range of projects focused on different cohorts, including women returners and those underrepresented in tech roles. A similar approach will be trialled in other sectors to test whether the same principles apply, and DfE’s ongoing commissioning of National Skills Fund provision will further test the approach in other sectors, as well as whether it is equally effective commissioned nationally rather than in localities.

2.19.                    One of the implementation challenges in this space is the fact that these bespoke co-designed courses, whilst of undeniable benefit to participating individuals and employers, are non-accredited, so there might be issues in relation to portability with other employers in the longer term. Devising an accreditation system might address this issue, as well as enabling this kind of training to count as accredited prior learning as part of a related qualification in the future, although the bureaucratic implications would make this option less attractive to employers. In addition, this kind of provision is not currently subject to inspection and so might be open to questions around quality assurance.

2.20.                    Furthermore, it should be noted that the commitments to lifelong learning in the FE Reform White Paper are largely based on extending more loan-based funding to people trying to retrain, upskill or find work and, like the advanced learner loans scheme, this by its nature risks widening inequalities and putting an additional brake on adult participation and progression as well as labour market mobility across all age ranges. Through our devolved adult education functions and funding, we have already extended fully funded learning to more GM residents who would benefit most from upskilling and retraining through flexible funding policies that support residents who might not have the capacity to take on a loan. We are also concerned that the Skills Bill currently progressing through Parliament risks undermining this more inclusive tailored approach: in placing employer led skills plans on a statutory footing to which colleges are obliged to respond, there is a risk that too little emphasis will be placed on the lower and intermediate level skills that provide a progression and retraining pipeline into the specialised higher technical skills that are the focus of the White Paper.

2.21.                    A final issue to note on this is that highly centralised policymaking and implementation is unlikely to be successful, as the UK does not have a single homogeneous labour market or economy, but a series of local ones. Analysis relied upon in national policy making can mask significant variations between places and as noted above, policy decisions that appear reasonable for a national initiative might have little resonance on the ground.

2.22.                    It is important to consider in any analysis of who is most likely to be affected by transitioning industries and roles and target support accordingly. A universal offer could have a lot of deadweight and skew resources towards people who are already quite well-equipped to proactively re-skill themselves and away from those with fewer resources/less resilience.

2.23.                    The perception that certain jobs or sectors are ‘for’ or ‘not for’ certain groups of people is a significant barrier to re-skilling. Policies that actively seek to challenge these stereotypes will help to reduce this barrier and enable sectors of growing demand to fulfil their talent needs.  Likewise, policies that encourage flexible working are important in enabling people to manage transitions between jobs or into self-employment and/or to re-skill and might offer particular opportunities to people and cohorts for whom traditional working and training have been a barrier, including those with caring responsibilities and people with disabilities or physical/mental health conditions.

2.24.                   Businesses in sectors undergoing significant transitions need support to develop their workforce and organisations as they adopt new technologies, to help ensure their existing workforce is being upskilled and that new roles provide meaningful, well-paid and productive employment. The Made Smarter programme (which GM piloted in the North West prior to the national roll-out) is providing this kind of support to manufacturing SMEs as they navigate the shift to industry 4.0.

 

May 2021

 

11