This week, the Greater Manchester Apprenticeship Company (GMAC) celebrates its second birthday – and I’m very pleased to say that the partnership has seen some incredible successes over the last two years.

The GMAC partnership was established in June 2016, as an innovative collaboration between 10 partners across Greater Manchester – including GM FE colleges, The Growth Company and Total People.

GMAC was designed to ensure study programme learners got to know about Apprenticeships and understand how this could support their careers, revolutionising apprenticeship progression across the region.

Since it was established, the project has achieved 565 apprenticeship starts who have used the unique digital careers portal ‘This is Me’ to help them apply for apprenticeships in their chosen career.

The portal provides learners with access to a wealth of helpful tools including a CV builder, careers assessments and a mock interview experience. To date, there have been over 21,000 user accounts and over 40,000 logins.

The great work done by the partnership in terms of getting young people onto apprenticeships was highlighted at the GMAC CPD Conference earlier this year. In his speech Mayor for Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham recognised the fantastic success of the GMAC partnership, which he praised for its innovative approach and a true example of how we do things differently in Greater Manchester.

I would just like to wish GMAC a very happy 2nd birthday, and congratulate everyone involved in the partnership on all they’ve achieved so far.

Going forward, I have no doubts that GMAC will play a pivotal role in driving apprenticeship starts across Greater Manchester. Given the national downturn in the number of young people taking up apprenticeships, GMAC’s role will no doubt become more important than ever over the next year.