Predicting the future isn’t easy. But for politicians, it is an important part of our job. Given the decisions we make in all sorts of areas, it’s crucial that we think about what the world around us will look like in the years and decades to come.

One area in which it’s increasingly important we look to the future is the job market. With technological change, accelerated by the pandemic, the jobs our children and grandchildren will be working in will be very different to those which we work in today.

Devolved authorities like Greater Manchester have a role to play in working out what the jobs of tomorrow will be and shaping policies towards them. At the heart of this is skills. If our young people are equipped with modern and forward-looking skills, then they will be well equipped to step into the world of work.

Tameside College is one institution which has been leading the way on this. By offering a range of qualifications from National Vocational Qualifications to BTECs, they are allowing Tameside’s young people to gain the skills they need for the job market. Last week I was delighted to see the news that Tameside College have launched a new Higher Technical Qualification in computing (with cyber security). This will not only help our young people gain the skills they need for the digital age, but in the long term it will help protect businesses across Greater Manchester from cyber threats by providing the skilled workers the digital sector needs.

Tameside College are also leading the way with their apprenticeship provision. They are offering apprenticeships ranging from baking to bricklaying, allowing young people to gain the practical experience they need to thrive in the world of work. My first job was a trainee in a computing company, so I’ve always been passionate about the importance of vocational training. I’ve spent many years promoting apprenticeships in Parliament, and I’ll continue to lobby the government to make sure that they give vocational training the attention it deserves.

I want Tameside’s young people to be able to pursue their dreams, and to gain the skills they need locally without having to move to other parts of the country. By encouraging a skills revolution, we can attract new businesses and new industries to Tameside with a strong, skilled workforce to act as a magnet for the jobs of the future.

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