By Steve Upham : altspace Coworking Office

It was a pleasure to visit Workplace in Manchester last night to hear the Mayor of Manchester speak about the challenges facing our City and his vision for the future.  Workplace offers a great coworking and meeting space in the City centre and is situated just two floors above the Mayor’s office.  Andy Burnham has been in residence for two years now and shared some observations of the his tenure back in the North in contrast to his previous role at Westminster.

Manchester following devaluation is benefiting from a growing economy which has consequences on the City’s residents and young people.  It was refreshing to hear a politician discuss some socially minded policies that have impacted under-privileged groups.  Homelessness is a clear concern for anyone who visits the City centre and Andy discussed his initiative to give everyone a bed for the night.  Apparently over 380 less people will be sleeping out tonight thanks to the Charity that the Mayor’s Office have co-ordinated.

With huge private investment being ploughed into Manchester it’s really important to ensure that this benefits all of the City’s residents.  The  GMCA  ( Greater Manchester Combined Authority ) co-ordinated scheme to offer apprentices an opportunity to work with growing companies across priority sectors will safeguard Manchester’s talent base and ensure there are equal opportunities to all.  By promoting social mobility amongst all of the population we can benefit from a diverse workforce and help make the North West more harmonious and self sufficient.  Andy’s idea of offering alternative career paths to young people who won’t go to University met with a warm reception in the room.  We need to promote achievable careers options to the next generation.   By  appreciating different skill sets and approaches to work placed education we can stimulate young people and help them progress.

This socially minded approach highlights the power of the collective in our City.  It’s easy to contrast this with the national political situation and the rise of unhealthy individualism and polarised, often extreme views.  One attendee last night summed up the mood very well I thought by raising the significance of  altruism and collaboration amongst small businesses and freelancers.  Mr Burnham gave us a good reminder of what qualities are important to help support a successful business and workforce in 2019.