MANCHESTER Mayoral candidates The Rt. Hon. Andy Burnham MP and Councillor Sean Anstee outlined their ambitions for the Northern Powerhouse at a special Business School event last week.
The event, organised alongside the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), brought together academics, businesses and policy makers to discuss ways in which North West businesses can futureproof the Northern Powerhouse.
Speaking at the event, the Labour Mayoral Candidate and the Conservative Leader of Trafford Council discussed their aspirations for the devolution of power in Manchester, known as DevoManc.
The mayoral candidates spoke about how the agenda could be used to improve transport and plug the skills gap in the region as part of historic delegation of powers – from national government to a regional level.
Opportunities available to small and medium-sized businesses (SME) throughout the Greater Manchester region were also highlighted, with SMEs being seen as essential to the success of the Northern Powerhouse, and how the city’s core strengths can link to ensure growth.
Enhancing the region
Analysis of the North has identified four key skills: Advanced Manufacturing, Digital Development, Health Innovation and Energy. These skills could provide the foundations for closing a major gap in productivity, generating new jobs and enhancing global competitiveness. These are supported by three core services that are vital if growth in these areas is to be successfully nurtured: Education, Logistics, and Financial and Professional Services.
The political figures both have fond memories of the University. Cllr Anstee is an alumnus of the Faculty of Business and Law, and Andy Burnham remembered visiting his brother while he studied here. Andy Burnham said: “I’m a huge supporter of Manchester Met. It is the heart of our strength in Greater Manchester and needs to be a powerhouse in itself for research and teaching, that is why I am here showing my support.”
Melanie Christie, ICAEW Regional Director for the North West, said: “It is vital for businesses to engage with universities like MMU and professional bodies like ICAEW. The pace of change in business is phenomenal and if we do not keep up with the transformation in how we are skilling our graduates and trainees we are doing those businesses a disservice. Working with Manchester Met, we can deliver those skills that businesses need.”