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Greater Manchester claims social value returns from GM One Network programme


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Aerial view of central Manchester
Image source: GMCA

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has claimed significant returns in social value from its technology partners in the GM One Network programme.

It said they are delivering on social value commitments including apprenticeships and other training opportunities, community volunteering and a blueprint to securely connect up social spaces in the future.

The GM One Network is being developed to create a single infrastructure for network services across public sector sites in the city. GMCA said it will act as a catalyst for many smart city projects and unlock further delivery of priorities in line with the Greater Manchester Digital Blueprint.

It has highlighted the delivery against social value commitments within the contract by Cisco and Telent including 28 new apprentices, with 15 apprenticeships already in place across the region. These cover a range of technical roles, including engineering, marketing and project specialists. Telent is set to embark on a new recruitment drive for future apprentices as part of the programme.

GMCA added that Cisco experienced a record number of applications for this year’s regional work experience programme.

Volunteering efforts

In addition, a 2,225 hours of volunteering hours have been invested into the communities of Greater Manchester under the GM One Network contract, including running IntoUniversity workshops, Foodtruck runs with Fareshare, and schools career events.

A T-level industry placement programme is also being hosted in Greater Manchester. Four local students are participating in the first year of the programme, which kicked off in January, and there is a target to give 10 students each year places on the six-weeks programme.

The authority also pointed to the provision of free connectivity and donated technology, along with digital skills workshops and drop-in sessions, at a handful of community sites around the city. A scalable blueprint has also been produced to ensure the secure connection of community sites – with a mix of technology and services including internet security and the resources to manage the installation.

Cllr Nick Peel, GMCA lead for digital, said: "We’re ensuring Greater Manchester has the digital infrastructure needed to be a world class digital city-region. To achieve this, we’re drawing on our relationships with private sector partners to achieve strong social value outcomes of real benefit to our people across the region. I’m pleased to hear apprenticeships, work experience placements and pathway programmes like T-levels are now benefitting our residents across the region.

“Harnessing infrastructure in this way aligns to our ambition for Greater Manchester to become one of the first city-regions in the world to equip our residents with the skills, connectivity and technology to get online, ensuring our people can benefit for the opportunities that digital brings."

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