This month our blog post about Brexit was submitted by Councillor Emma Taylor, Labour Member for Bradford Ward.
In the early hours of June 24th, there was a mixture of gasps of horror and cheers of joy when Britain’s vote to leave the EU was announced in Manchester Town Hall. Just over two months later, what does Brexit mean for the next generation of workers in Greater Manchester?
After all, Greater Manchester has benefited substantially from EU funding. The conurbation was expected to receive a combined £321m from the European Regional Development and Social Funds up to 2020. That’s money that over the years has helped shape Greater Manchester; extending the Metrolink network, developing the Sharp Project creative-digital hub and creating jobs at the Graphene Institute to name just a few funded projects.
With the economic fallout of the referendum vote still reverberating across Greater Manchester, many young people understandably don’t feel as confident about their future job prospects as they did before June. After all, young voters wanted Brexit the least – it is thought that more than 70% of under 25s chose to remain in the EU. Yet it is this generation which will have to live with the consequences of Brexit.
Despite growing economic headwinds, Greater Manchester has proven itself to be an attractive location for a number of new business sectors which are slowly starting to flourish. Against that backdrop, recent school leavers and graduates across the conurbation need support from both national and local government to obtain the skills required in the workplace of the future.
Young people in the north have been neglected for far too long. That’s why business and local government must collaborate to ensure Brexit doesn’t rob another generation of Greater Manchester residents of their potential. A proven track-record of economic stability and business confidence, founded on close partnership between the public and private sectors, will be the key to creating the high-skilled jobs of the future in the conurbation.
With the Greater Manchester Metro Mayoral election scheduled to take place in May 2017, residents will rightly be expecting that new position to be a catalyst for sustainable economic growth which can weather the Brexit storm.
Emma Taylor is a Labour Party councillor for the Bradford ward, Manchester City Council.