People power as citizens come together to advise Greater Manchester Universities

citizens' panelThe first meeting has taken place of fifty local people from across Greater Manchester who will help shape the five Universities of Greater Manchester’s priorities for jobs, growth and skills.

On Saturday, 5 November, the 50 citizens came together with the Universities and Greater Manchester Combined Authority, as part of the region’s Civic University Agreement. The panel will work with the Greater Manchester Civic University Board to ensure that its work is rooted in the public’s priorities.

Panellists come from all walks of life, with the only condition of membership being that they live in Greater Manchester and can spare the time to share their opinions.

This means advising on what activities the five universities in Greater Manchester should undertake to create jobs, contribute to economic growth and to improve education and skills in Greater Manchester.

Professor Richard Jones, Chair of the Greater Manchester Civic University Board, said: “It’s really exciting to begin the work of our panel. The Civic University Agreement, which recently celebrated its first anniversary, committed GM’s five universities to work together for the benefit of our city region, so it’s important that our work over the next two years reflects the priorities of the citizens of Greater Manchester.”

One participant, from Prestwich said: “I joined the panel because I think a lot needs to be done and I would love my voice to be heard and give some valuable opinions and hopefully contribute to making change happen.”

Another, from Wigan, said: “I have joined the panel for the opportunity to represent my local borough. We know universities play a massive role in increasing growth and ideally provide the opportunity to increase the number of young people into the higher education sector in order to bring about growth in the Wigan borough.”

The panel will work with the universities for two years, meeting key people from the organisations through a programme of events and activities. During this time they will help shape priorities, explore how research and innovation can benefit Greater Manchester and advising on how to engage with people across the city region.

Professor Jennie Henley, Vice Chair of the Greater Manchester Civic University Board and Director of Programmes at the Royal Northern College of Music added: “Our aim is to listen and learn from the people of Greater Manchester. We are really proud of the work our universities do, but we want to connect more and work in partnership with our communities to build a stronger and healthier Greater Manchester.”

The 50 panellists will work with the five Greater Manchester Universities (The University of Salford, The University of Bolton, Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Manchester and The Royal Northern College of Music), Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Public First.*