Salford City Council hosted an expert panel discussion to discuss the future of skills and work in the city this morning.

Leaders across business, education and the VCSE sector were invited to join the Teams call, which was chaired by Andy Westwood, and share their thoughts.

Paul Dennett, City Mayor, started the discussion: “We want to take advantage of opportunities but importantly reduce inequalities in the city. This is all about improving the skills and health and wellbeing of Salford residents.”

Speaking about the idea of an Institute of Technology for local residents in order to attract industries, Helen Marshall, Vice Chancellor of the University of Salford, said: “This will give Salford long-term sustainable employment activity. This is a huge opportunity.”

Shontel Tunnicliffe, of Kingsland Drinks, commented on the difficulty of the labour market at the moment.

She said: “We offer apprenticeships and graduate programmes but getting people to talk to us about vacancies is quite challenging.”

Alison Page, chief executive officer of Salford Community and Voluntary Services, added: “We need to think about raising the aspiration of local people. This is about life-long learning and making people aware that these [work] opportunities are there for them.”

Ending the panel, Philip Cusack, Salford City Councillor, said: “It is time for a skills and work refresh. We are recognising our successes and we are going to build on it. We are hoping to release our new work and skills strategy by March or April.

“If this council can do anything, it is about putting people together, levelling up, making those relationships [between employers] work. It is about raising the aspirations of residents across the city.”

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