Find out how we have helped businesses upskill and develop their workforce

Employer Skills Groups

The skills world is changing in Greater Manchester. There is a much greater emphasis on matching the demand for skills from businesses to the supply of skills training and education from schools, colleges and training providers.

We very much see the Chamber fulfilling the key role of the voice of business in the skills world, particularly as the devolution of skills funding occurs and has an impact. As a result, it is critical that we put forward the views of our employers, both large and small to the decision makers locally and nationally. To this end, our Employers' Skills Advisory Board comprises senior staff representing businesses of different size, sector and geography.

The Board has evolved from our successful Employer Ownership of Skills contract where we successfully responded to the demand from employers for more Apprentices, training over 900 on the programme, using sector-specific Employer Skills Groups.

There will be typically three meetings each year held at the Chamber's headquarters, Elliot House on Deansgate, Manchester. Agenda items include the following:

  • Government skills policy updates
  • Input and discussion on policy decisions
  • Invited guest speakers
  • Responses to new bidding opportunities
  • Schools and business engagement

If you would like to get involved with the Board or with our Employer Skills Groups,  please email

Sector Successes


The Shared Apprenticeship Scheme was set up to generate a sustainable programme of work to host apprentices, and to encourage contractors to collaborate and ‘share’ apprenticeship training. Work by the Chamber's Construction GTA (Group Training Association) team led to them winning the 'Leadership & People Development' award in the North West Construction Awards.

The Construction Pipeline Analysis, which was produced by the Chamber, utilised pioneering research methodology to produce a detailed labour and skills analysis on GM projects in planning. Data collected by Barbour ABI was fed into a Labour Forecasting Tool developed by the CITB and Whole Life Consultants; this produced average labour and skills requirements on the GM pipeline from 2014 – 2017. A further three analyses have been produced, and the work was recognised and recommended by the Chief Construction Adviser to government.

The Construction GTA successfully bid for funding from the ESF Skills Support to fund our Building Information Modelling (BIM) Project. The team held 10 workshops, engaging with 91 delegates and 43 organisations across Greater Manchester, raising awareness and providing up-skilling opportunities. They also delivered a ‘virtual BIM project’ CPD course in conjunction with the BIM Academy.

Creative Technology & Infrastructure

Hyper Island is a successful service provider on the Employer Ownership of Skills (EOS) programme. Their mission has two main focuses:

  • Educational programmes and courses to immerse young talents and industry professionals in intensive learning experiences including: digital strategy; e-Commerce; data strategy; art direction; self-leadership; and reflection.

  • Business innovation consulting to boost understanding of how digital changes societies and consumer behaviour -- and supporting organisations in staying or becoming creative and competitive in an increasingly digitized world.

All bar 1 of Hyper Island’s registered EOS learners are either in learning or fully achieved –a 96% success rate at present.

Engineering & Manufacturing

We currently have 800 Chamber members taking advantage of our Engineering and Manufacturing benefits, such as:

ChamberHS – free access to information and guidance to help manage health and safety requirements, including: unlimited access to a dedicated health and safety advice line; a dedicated health and safety website containing hundreds of downloadable documents, policies, procedures and forms; an online H&S health check plus a compliant health and safety policy.

Occupational health – a 20% discount on occupational health services, which determine how your work impacts your health, and also make sure you are fit for the work you do.

Health and Social Care

The Chamber successfully managed funding from the Skills Funding agency for a training course in ‘Legislation in Health and Social Care’. This course looked at legislation relating to health and social care, with a focus on the Mental Health Act (2007) and Dementia.


The Robinson’s pub group and training providers Charnwood have offered apprenticeships on the Chamber's EOS pilot programme. The Almond family are long-serving multiple operators of the Robinsons’ pubs Puss in Boots (Offerton), Fletchers Arms (Denton), Three Bears (Hazel Grove).

Robinsons received 31 applications (7 from 16-18 age group, 24 aged 19+) of which 17 have signed up. Below is a testimonial from Robinson’s about the success of apprentices on the programme:

“We were recently told that our team members were the main difference between our carveries and other businesses. Training is the fundamental element we have found that makes this difference. Training encourages loyalty, improves self-esteem in our employees and ultimately improves the guests' experience. Through on-the-job apprenticeships our team members are encouraged and motivated to learn the technical skills which improve their confidence to deliver exceptional service to our guests.  Robinsons has selected a superb, professional company with hands on experience in the industry to deliver this training, which is reflected in the quality of the learning for our team members. These apprenticeships, coupled with our in-house hospitality training, are what we believe sets us apart for our competitors.”


Thirteen Housing Associations in Greater Manchester formed an Employer Skills Group to work with the Chamber on the Employer Ownership of Skills (EOS) Programme. Led by New Charter Housing Group and City West, the group collaborated to define the skills needs for their sector, utilising EOS funds to commission the apprenticeship training they required. This enabled them to use apprenticeships to recruit for a wider number of housing vacancies than they could previously.

Through the Chamber’s EOS programme the housing sector in Greater Manchester generated an additional 80 apprenticeships starts in 2013 and 2014.

Legal Sector

A number of regional and national law firms have joined forces with the Chamber to form the Legal Sector Employer Skills Group, the first of its kind in the UK.

The Group was chaired by Slater & Gordon (formerly known as Pannone) and helped to create over 100 new paralegal apprenticeships in Greater Manchester.

The legal group’s primary goal has been training paralegals to deliver high-quality and cost-effective legal services of the future.

The new Paralegal Apprentice qualification creates a career path allowing young people to start working at a firm straight from school with GCSE and A level qualifications. The apprentices both work within the firm and receive further external training.

The Group has also supported Manchester Metropolitan University in developing their first apprenticeship programme at Level 3, and have now gone on to offer a wide range of apprenticeships at all levels (up to Level 6, which is solicitor level).


The Logistics Employer Skills Group, established in 2013 and chaired by AK Worthington Ltd, is predominantly Road Haulage focused. The challenges facing the sector included very few new entrants, no recognised apprenticeship programmes and an aging workforce issue.

One of the Group’s achievements was a project working in partnership with DWP to establish a 100-place HGV Class 2 driver programme. The course was successfully delivered by Mantra Training, Middleton, and funded by DWP and the companies involved. This enabled new recruits to be trained to a level where they could immediately add value to the company/employer.

Low Carbon

The Chamber is working closely with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s (GMCA) Low Carbon Hub to help influence college and training provider provision to align it with demand from industry.


Airport City UK is a development surrounding Manchester Airport in one of the Government’s new Enterprise Zones. Within Enterprise Zones there is an emphasis on offering incentives to businesses to locate and expand in these targeted areas. The Chamber worked closely with Manchester Airport Group and Manchester City Council to develop the Airport City Employment Strategy.

Our Local Authorities

The Chamber provides skills and development services across our 10 local Greater Manchester authorities. Click on each area to see our Skills and Development achievements in each authority: Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan.

Employer Ownership of Skills (EOS) Success Stories

We’ve put together a short presentation of success stories from our Employer Ownership of Skills (EOS) program: Watch it here

Skills Film

Take a look at our Skills Film to see how we have helped businesses and their staff upskill, in each of the 10 local authorities in Greater Manchester.