Greater Manchester has set out how it will build on its increasing status as a world-class digital destination , over the next three years. Data and technology will play a crucial role in making the city region a greener, fairer and more prosperous place.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) along with stakeholders and communities from across Greater Manchester’s digital and tech sector have come together to refresh Greater Manchester’s Digital Blueprint for 2023-26.
The 2023-26 blueprint has been launched against a backdrop of Greater Manchester’s world-class digital ecosystem and economy that is going from strength to strength, with unprecedented growth in investment and recognition of Greater Manchester as a global hub and digital city of the future.
Inward investment in Greater Manchester’s tech companies has leapt forward since 2017-8, increasing by over one thousand percent by 2022, and the city-region is in the vanguard of work nationally and internationally in the areas of digital inclusion, AI, security, infrastructure and digital public services.
This blueprint will embed and accelerate that progress, refreshing the region’s strategic commitments to put people, our environment, and place firmly at the heart of plans. It outlines how GMCA and partners will improve the lives of Greater Manchester’s residents and for people and communities to feel empowered by the opportunities a digitally fuelled city-region brings.
The blueprint details how GMCA will continue to use technology and data to make this a greener, fairer, more prosperous city region, with the Digital Blueprint setting ambitions and outlining an approach to meeting them, over the next three years.
The refreshed blueprint was launched at DTX Manchester (external website) – the UK’s biggest digital transformation event in the North, on the 17th of May. Speakers included Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester; Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, GMCA Lead for Education, Skills, Work, Apprenticeships; Adele Every, Managing Director Public Sector, Cisco UK & Ireland, and Katie Gallagher, Chief Executive of Manchester Digital.
Andy Burnham renewed his ambition and commitment for Greater Manchester to be a digital city-region with a difference, putting people, the environment and place at the heart of plans and aiming for a more innovative, inclusive and sustainable approach that builds on the region’s greatest assets.
Cllr Eamonn O’Brien, GMCA Lead for Education, Skills, Work, Apprenticeships & Digital said: “Greater Manchester has fastest-growing digital economy in Europe, and we’re home to a thriving £5 billion digital ecosystem. Over the last three years we’ve built on that Greater Manchester spirit of doing things differently and leading the way – and the next three years will be another exciting chapter.
We continue to grow as a world-leading digital city region and remain committed to being open, innovative and connected, empowering our people and communities to thrive. We’re building responsible, data driven public services and creating connected, inclusive and sustainable places.
Together, we want to better the lives our people and for everyone to feel empowered by the opportunities being a world leading digital city region can bring. By putting people, the environment and places at the heart of our plans, we are taking an inclusive and sustainable approach to being an international digital powerhouse!”
The blueprint outlines five priority areas and four key strategic enablers. Priorities include empowering people and communities, enabling a resilient and prosperous economy; and creating connected, inclusive, sustainable places. For 2023-26, emphasis has been put on strategic enablers including building digital skills and literacy for life, education, work and business, extending our world-class digital infrastructure and strengthening our digital talent pipeline.
The importance of enhancing digital literacy for all and enabling inclusive pathways into digital careers was emphasised by Caprice, a student at DISC (Digital Independent Specialist College) (external website) who featured in a new video also launched at DTX Manchester.
Student at DISC Caprice said, “Digital is the future; you have big companies here that are looking for a range of digital skills talent. Greater Manchester has MediaCityUK, ITV and the BBC so for a lot of people, especially those coming out of education it’s a great place to be. I personally believe it’s important for opportunities here in Greater Manchester to be accessible to everyone, anybody of any background – so anyone can get into whatever career they like.”
The event, and video, featured some of the region’s innovative digital businesses including Cisco and 6point6 (website), detailing how Greater Manchester is leveraging the strengths and vibrancy of tech clusters and networks to drive collaboration, innovation, employment and skills, making the UK’s tech region the first choice for businesses to locate here.
Janet Coulthurst, Chief of Staff at 6point6 (external website), said: “Since opening an office here in Greater Manchester and becoming part of that ecosystem, we’ve been absolutely blown away. The growth ambition of everyone here is massive, but the city-region has preserved the essence of its original vision – community comes first. Greater Manchester brings together the very best minds with a shared purpose of making the North West a world-class destination for digital. Thanks to this, in a matter of months we’ve been able to grow a strong and supportive network, and we’re ready and excited to play our part in Greater Manchester’s brilliant story.”
The blueprint positions Greater Manchester as a place digitally enabling a greener, fairer, more prosperous city-region for everyone, a place that makes things happen, that fosters collaboration and enables everyone to do well and lead fulfilled lives, supported and enabled by devolved powers, efficient public services, empowered citizens and a vibrant, connected and inclusive digital ecosystem.