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World Youth Skills Day blog post from Jon-Paul Rimington

15 Jul 2023

This year as we celebrate World Youth Skills Day on 15 July, we wanted to take a moment to reflect on the part GC Education and Skills plays for young people and how we are actively contributing to the transformation of skills for the future. So, we sat down with Jon-Paul Rimington, Managing Director of Education & Skills, to gather his thoughts on how we are making a positive difference to the youth of today.

  • What is our role, as a training provider, for young people?

We’re fortunate to work closely with local authorities, commissioners, and employers to support young people on their career progression routes. We create environments that are better suited to their pathways, providing them with opportunities to learn in ways that truly suit them.

  • How is GC actively contributing to the transformation of skills for the future?

We’ve worked hard, to understand and identify the skills gaps in the region. By aligning our efforts with the current and future needs of employment, we can focus on specific areas of growth. Two notable areas, as highlighted by Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, are the tech space and green skills.

In the tech space we’re exploring innovative approaches such as Skills Bootcamps and working in collaboration with employers to upskill individuals for future roles. We’re also at the forefront of green skills development. With the opening of the Green Skills Academy in Trafford, we have worked with multiple employers both large and small to recognise their workforces needs and deliver the necessary training. Our Green Skills Academy positions us as a leading provider in this critical area of provision.

  • Can you share some examples of successful apprenticeship programmes?

Every day we witness success thanks to our amazing team, who work tirelessly to transform lives and provide clear pathways for our learners. We have won multiple awards in the last year for our outstanding delivery, for example Low Carbon Innovator of the Year 2022 and recognised in the Top 50 training providers table. However, the most inspiring success stories come from those of our dedicated learners who have overcome barriers and challenges in their educational journey. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the positive impact of our apprenticeships on people.

  • How do you envision the future of skill development and education across the Greater Manchester Region?

It’s making sure that we’re delivering in those specialist areas and delivering well; we’re constantly reviewing skills needs and gaps across the region for today and for the future. We’ve already done a huge part of that in priority areas such as construction, care, digital, and green skills, but we must continue tailoring our programmes to meet the evolving needs of our community.

Collaboration is also the key to our success. At GC we’re in a great position to bring together specialist organisations to really delve into the community and deliver the best possible provision in that area.

  • How do our training programmes for young people help to grow a more inclusive society?

I think one of the things we also really, really should take a huge amount of pride in is that we're massively inclusive. A lot of what we offer in our training centres is very much community based, so making sure that we’re an open door for everyone and to make sure that people across all communities have access to centres, is important to us. We have a huge amount of diversity - I think it’s something across the board where we as a business genuinely live by our values to ensure inclusivity. So, as we continue to drive improvements in in all areas, we’ll continue to ensure we offer a diverse and inclusive offering.

  • What’s the one thing you’re most proud of?

That’s quite difficult. We have multiple teams delivering to multiple cohorts and in every single one of them we have a success.

I can’t pinpoint just one thing I’m proud of, but I am massively proud of the work of the team for building trusting relationships with our commissioners and then pursuing future opportunities that we deliver well. We deliver with passion, and our colleagues are passionate about delivering skills, developing, and helping people. This gives us a huge opportunity to not only grow but to grow through quality and this is the direction we will aim to travel in in the next two years.

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