Young people learning technical skills

New Greater Manchester education path launches this year

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has confirmed that the Greater Manchester Baccalaureate will be launched in September, following proposals being unveiled in May 2023.

As part of a plan to create two pathways for students who are making big decisions ahead of their GCSEs, the Greater Manchester Baccalaureate (referred to as the MBacc) will help to give some 14-year-olds a technical route to take. This would allow those who are not as suited to the academic path to gain the technical skills that local employers need to help fill workforce gaps, whilst not depriving them of the opportunity to gain a university education.

Once the MBacc route has been chosen, young people can then go on to achieve T-Level qualifications, the technical alternative to A-Levels before then making a decision on whether to go on to higher education.

The importance of the MBacc comes as only a third of Greater Manchester’s young people are currently undertaking an English Baccalaureate meaning that, until the MBacc is launched, there is no technical alternative that carries the same weight as the academic qualifications.

Coming as part of his New Year message, Mayor Andy Burnham said:

“I have long believed that the education system in England is overly focused on the university route and doesn’t do enough to support young people who seek technical qualifications. At present, secondary schools in England are encouraged to steer students towards the English Baccalaureate (or EBacc) – the GCSEs most favoured by universities. Around a third of young people in Greater Manchester are taking the EBacc and that is good for them. But what about the two-thirds who don’t?

“This is a question which Westminster has long neglected. My goal is to make Greater Manchester the first place in England to provide a proper answer to it.

“In the Autumn, we will introduce the Greater Manchester Baccalaureate – or MBacc – to sit alongside the EBacc and give all our young people two clear equal paths at 14: one academic and one technical, but importantly with the opportunity to move between them in the future. The MBacc will steer them towards GCSEs and other qualifications most favoured by employers and then on to post-16 opportunities and the many great jobs we have in the GM economy. We will build the MBacc through the academic years of the rest of this decade so that, by 2030, our city-region will boast the country’s first employer-driven, integrated technical education system. It will offer young people an equal and clear technical pathway in life, help employers fill workforce shortages and give investors another reason to come here.”

The increased oversight that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority has gained comes as part of its Trailblazer Devolution Deal, with local leaders making the important decisions on how young people are supported to gain skills that will set them up for successful careers.


Image credit: iStock

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