Image shows a variety of people of all ages sitting down and having a conversation.Greater Manchester Talent Match was a Big Lottery-funded programme bringing together the private, public and voluntary sectors to support young people aged 18-24 who have not been in employment, education or training for twelve months or more and who need extra support to help them along their pathway to work.

The Greater Manchester Talent Match partnership was led by Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation and included Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Greater Manchester Youth Network, private sector employers (The Co-operative Group and Addleshaw Goddard), the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Manchester Skills and Employment Partnership.  

Talent Match was a Big Lottery Fund £108 million investment to tackle youth unemployment in 21 areas of England. Greater Manchester Talent Match supports young people in the ten districts of Greater Manchester.

As the lead partner in the Greater Manchester Talent Match partnership, GMCVO had overall responsibility for the delivery of the programme.

  • Partnership Board: The GMCVO Board has devolved responsibility for the delivery of the programme to the Greater Manchester Talent Match Partnership Board, consisting of senior representatives of each of the eight partner organisations.
  • Steering Group: The Greater Manchester Talent Match Steering Group had an advisory function, contributing expertise towards the design and delivery of the programme.
  • Youth Panel: Our Youth Panel played a vital role in driving the design and delivery of the programme.
  • Employers: We were joined by a number of Employers who support the Greater Manchester Talent Match programme.
  • Talent Coaches: Support for our young people is mainly provided by Talent Coaches, named workers who offer one-to-one, long-term support throughout their journey to employment. Support is delivered through a series of opportunities, designed to help young people to make positive progress towards employment.

Our vision is that: Greater Manchester will be a place where all young people are valued and supported to realise their employment potential and enjoy fulfilling lives

Five main principles underpinned the Greater Manchester Talent Match programme:

Centred on young people – The Project Plan was co-designed with young people and our programme has young people at the heart of decision-making throughout.  Talent Coaches are providing what young people said was missing from youth employment schemes - a highly personalised, holistic approach that supports them to overcome personal and practical barriers to employment. 

A positive approach – The label ‘NEET’ only describes what young people are not, and doesn’t reflect their potential.  We are actively challenging negative perceptions of young people and celebrating their achievements through strong and positive communications. 

Building on assets – We know that all young people have talents which can be harnessed and developed.  Young people have told us that they aspire to increase their employability, but find it difficult to navigate the array of opportunities that are available.  We have created the Greater Manchester Opportunities Hub (an online portal bringing together information about existing opportunities available for young people with those we are sourcing exclusively for the programme) to enable our Talent Coaches to shape bespoke journeys towards employment for young people. 

We are building stronger, practical relationships between employers and organisations working with young people and have dedicated staff leading on this aspect of the programme.  In addition, Greater Manchester Talent Match has a dedicated Volunteering Development Officer supporting the inclusion of meaningful volunteering activities in the menu of opportunities available to young people.

Local solutions – Our Talent Coaches are drawn from the front-line organisations that understand the challenges faced by young people in their communities. We are working to understand the region’s economic growth sectors and find out what skills employers are looking for in order to influence young people’s career choices and enable their talents to be matched to local demand. 

Learning – We are trying out new approaches and finding what works in supporting the most disadvantaged young people towards employment.  Our learning from the programme will be used to influence regional skills and employment strategies, ensuring that the connections we create between young people, employers and organisations remain as a legacy for Greater Manchester after the programme ends.