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Microsoft signs digital skills MoU with Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Andy Burnham with members of Microsoft's Manchester team

Microsoft and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority have announced a three-year agreement to plug the digital skills gap in the region.

The new Memorandum of Understanding between GMCA and Microsoft aims to “boost the local economy, create new opportunities in the digital and tech sector, while improving diversity in the region.”

Microsoft notes that one-in-five vacancies in the region are linked to skills shortages and says that, together with GMCA, it will seek to close the skills gap by creating accessible pathways for learners to get into the tech industry, with diversity at the heart of the plan. It will focus on four key areas: digital skills for economic growth, public service transformation, sustainability and connected places and diversity and inclusion. 

Marie Hamilton, Greater Manchester region lead for Microsoft, has worked closely with GMCA in developing the Get on Greater Manchester plan. She said: “As the fastest growing tech hub in Europe it’s an exciting time to be in Greater Manchester. This MOU formalises and strengthens our relationship with GMCA. Together we will shine a spotlight on the opportunities available within the tech sector, encouraging higher take up of digital careers, improve diversity, and empower more people to benefit from the region’s growth.”

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham added: “This partnership with Microsoft will support 30,000 local people to develop the digital skills and confidence they need to pursue digital opportunities. By matching the resources of industry partners with our local schools and colleges we can ensure real local benefits.

“Collaboration between the public sector, industry and academia is at the heart of our vision for Greater Manchester to become an integrated technical skill city region and is just one example of how we are doing digital differently to deliver the priorities of our Digital Blueprint.”

Microsoft will be working closely with local educational establishments including The University of Salford and University Academy 92 (UA92) on the programme.

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