Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham

GREATER Manchester leaders are urging businesses to create further opportunities for young people, with a virtual event set to take place this week highlighting how they can help.  

Registration is now open for the Pledge 5 event, taking place on 21st October from 3pm to 5pm, aiming to provide employers with the chance to understand the challenges facing young people in the region, how they can get involved and how they can pledge their support.  

In May earlier this year, Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham set out his ambition for all big employers in Greater Manchester to register at least five job-related opportunities for young people on the Greater Manchester Apprenticeship and Careers Service (GMACS).

However, businesses of all sizes across the city-region are encouraged to sign up for the event and make pledges. Many organisations across Greater Manchester have already done so much to support young people, this event provides these businesses the opportunity to further engage with the Mayor’s ambition. 

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: "For me, the question is not 'why should my business do this?' but 'why wouldn't we do this?'. Every young person needs opportunities to help them get ahead - now more than ever - but more than that, this is a chance for employers to get a head start in checking out the talent that will run our businesses and build our economy in the future. 

  “This is a chance to be at the front of the queue in meeting the future innovators, seeing the talent, the energy that our young people can bring to businesses of all kinds and of all sizes across Greater Manchester." 

Speakers at the event include: 

  • Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester 
  • Diane Modahl, Olympian and Commonwealth Games Gold medallist and Chair of the Youth Task Force 
  • Professor Robina Shah, Chief Ambassador to Mayor Andy Burnham's Meet Your Future & Bridge GM and Deputy Lieutenant Greater Manchester 

Several of the city-region's biggest employers will also be speaking, to share insight into the work they've done to provide opportunities to young people across Greater Manchester: 

  • Oli de Botton, Chief Executive of the Careers and Enterprise Company 
  • Justin Kelly, Director of Communications and Business Development at Siemens and Local Enterprise Partnership Board Member with Skills Portfolio 
  • Sarah Brooks Pearce, Future Talent Manager and Disability & Neurodiversity Network Lead at Auto Trader 
  • Robyn Richards, Associate Director of Talent at JD Sports 
  • Jake Bowen, Prince's Trust Ambassador
  • Lorna Evans, Key Account Manager at CASCAID 

Click here to register for your free spot at the event. 

Since the start of the pandemic, youth unemployment has risen by 14.6% nationally and boroughs across Greater Manchester have been hit hard as a result of Covid-19. The Young Person’s Guarantee highlighted several concerns from young people including transitions into work and training and concerns around widening inequalities. 

As well as this, Greater Manchester’s annual Life Readiness Survey received 6,873 Year 10 responses in November 2020 where 60% of respondents said they felt worried about getting a job in the future, while 68% of girls said they felt hope and optimism for their future compared to 81% of boys.  

The GMCA Pledge 5 event aims to address these issues head on, encouraging businesses to learn more about the challenges young people face and how they can be part of the change.  

Oli de Botton, Chief Executive at the National Body for Careers Education, The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “This event couldn’t be more important or more timely. To help every young person take their best next step out of education and into the wider world, businesses engaging with schools and colleges is critical. From experiencing their first taste of a workplace, having their imaginations fired up by talks, projects and discussions with employers, to hearing first-hand about different routes into work like apprenticeships, the role of business cannot be underestimated.  

“Across Greater Manchester there are already so many employers giving up their time, with senior business leaders volunteering directly with schools and companies like Willmott Dixon and Autotrader supporting the Greater Manchester Careers Hub. But there is so much more work to do to help every one of our young people to be as prepared as possible for the future.” 

The event is being hosted at the Auto Trader head offices and companies can dial into the event from across Greater Manchester. Auto Trader are a cornerstone employer and have worked closely with the GMCA to create a number of opportunities for young people, including supporting the Meet Your Future Programme. 

Sarah Brooks Pearce, Future Talent Manager and Disability & Neurodiversity Network Lead at Auto Trader said: “At Auto Trader our purpose is ‘Driving change together. Responsibly’. For several years, we’ve been committed to investing in young people. We do this through education outreach, and offering apprenticeships, internships and graduate roles. This gives us a brilliant pipeline of amazing talent into our business. It also supports with developing the skills of our own colleagues. We reach the broadest communities in our area and help to support the talent ecosystem in Greater Manchester.  

“We were therefore delighted to have been invited to be part of this incredible event. We hope that we can play a small part in encouraging more employers to get involved and pledge their support.” 

Businesses are encouraged to make work-related pledges within their organisations, ranging from work-shadowing opportunities to offering traineeships, creating digital content for GMACS and more. Pledges can be made by filling in this short form and a GMCA staff member will be in touch to discuss these opportunities further.  

The GMACS platform is part of the Mayor’s commitment to ensure every person has access to opportunities and no one is left behind. The site is a tool for young people to find support and information on key issues highlighted in the Young Person’s Guarantee, making sure they have the best advice and resources to create their future in Greater Manchester. Pledges made by businesses will be highlighted on the site and young people (anyone aged 11-30) are encouraged to visit the site to access these opportunities.   

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