The Manchester College

A mission to support social mobility

One of the UK’s largest inner-city colleges improving young people’s aspirations with career-oriented training, co-delivered with leading employers.

The Manchester College is a large, inner-city general FE college, with nine campuses operating in some of the country’s most deprived wards. In 2016 the college launched its ‘Careers not Courses’ ethos, which aimed to focus on linking students’ technical education with a future career and ensuring that they acquire all the skills they will require for future employment.

This approach led to the creation of the college’s Industry Excellence Academies, where courses are co-developed and co-delivered with employer partners, and Centres of Excellence where students can obtain a wide range of qualifications linked to the skills needs of the Greater Manchester region. The impact of this strategy over the last four years has been profound. Despite very low academic, economic and social starting points, student outcomes have been improving year on year since 2016 and, are now amongst some of the highest rates in the country.

In an average year (pre-COVID) the college delivers two-week work placements to over 4,000 16–18-year-olds and 20% of the Department for Education’s national target for 45-day industry placements. Over 25% of the 16 to 18-year old learners are now studying on fully co-created, co-branded and co-delivered curricula.