Future Proof: Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester is the largest hub for employment outside the South East, with over 100,000 businesses employing 1.2m people. Despite this, the has a higher than average 16 - 24 youth unemployment rate of 17.4%, compared to the rate for rest of the UK of 14%, which is nearly triple the overall unemployment rate for Greater Manchester at 6.2%.

This year, Business in the Community, the City & Guilds Group and Greater Manchester Talent Match are working with business leaders and HR professionals from across Greater Manchester to break down the barriers in the hiring process for young people. From removing jargon from job descriptions to looking at new ways to assess candidates without relying on experience, we'll be exploring how businesses can update recruitment for the next generation. 

Want to find out more and get involved? Contact Chris Gopal, Work Inclusion Manager - Greater Manchester at chris.gopal@bitc.org.uk.

Future Proof Greater Manchester is supported by Greater Manchester Talent Match, which is 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.


Our work so far


September 2016 - Mystery shopper workshops

In September 2016 we held two workshops with young people from a wide rage of different backgrounds aged 16 -24 to 'mystery shop' the websites and entry level job adverts of 17 Greater Manchester employers. This helped us to understand some of the major barriers to employment that young people in Greater Manchester face, and the young people made some excellent practical recommendations to the employers who participated on how they could remove these barriers. Read more about our Mystery Shopper programme here.  


9 November 2016 - Future Proof: Greater Manchester Assembly

We wanted to explore the key regional challenges for employers who are recruiting young talent in Greater Manchester. So on 13 October Business in the Community, supported by the City & Guilds Group and supported by Greater Manchester Talent Match, brought over 70 local employers and stakeholders together to for a Future Proof Assembly to explore the challenges and opportunities of recruiting young talent in the Greater Manchester area.

The discussion section of our event generated over 223 insights and 137 solutions from employers. You can explore our summary of these insights below: 


24 January 2017 - The Big Conversation

On 24 January over one hundred businesses, employees and young people were brought together for "The Big Conversation" at People’s History Museum. The event gave young people the unique opportunity to meet employers in an informal environment with both groups being offered the chance to share their experiences. In these conversations employers provided advice on training opportunities, volunteering and routes into employment. See the highlights from the event here.


22 March 2017 - Workshop: Attracting Diverse Young Talent 

On 22nd March, we ran a workshop on how to attract diverse young talent into your business. The workshop took place in Manchester, kindly hosted by Barclays and supported by Greater Manchester Talent Match. At the event, employers and young people took part in a short activity to come up with the best methods to attract diverse, young talent which we have compiled below:


27 April 2017 - Third mystery shopper workshop

On 27 April, we ran a third mystery shopper workshop in partnership with Greater Manchester Talent Match and kindly hosted at Barclays Rise. Participants assessed how accessible local employers' entry level job opportunties are to young people and make recommendations about how they could remove any barriers to young people.

21 June 2017 - Workshop: How to identify potential, rather than experience?

On Wednesday 21 June, 22 delegates came together at a workshop run by Greater Manchester Talent Match and BITC looking at how to uncover young people’s hidden potential during the recruitment process. The workshop was kindly hosted by the Greater Manchester NHS Careers Hub, who also shared a fantastic insight into their supported internship programme and other support that the hub provides.

The group also heard from United Utilities about their approach to supporting young unemployed people into work, and from Digital Me about how digital badging is revolutionising the way that employers can identify skills and talent.    

The group also discussed way to draw out potential through different assessment formats, and agreed that there’s no one-size-fits-all format – employers need to use assessments that give young people a chance to demonstrate the kind of skills they will need in the role itself. Questions like ‘how did you prepare for your interview today?’ can be much more useful than ‘what do you know about our company?’, and some employers are shaking up their processes by removing their application forms completely, and removing qualifications from their entry requirements.

Grow Your Talent: Discovering and Developing Talent with the Strength Based Approach

January 9 2018

Imagine a conversation where you help someone to overcome their self-limiting beliefs and identify their key strengths and true potential. Just picture yourself guiding, inspiring and encouraging: you could be the...

Breaking down the barriers in Greater Manchester

October 10 2017


Many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds face multiple barriers to employment. From having a disability to fulfilling caring responsibilities, the compound effect of these barriers mean that for these young people finding a job is even more difficult. ...

Get your online job application process "mystery shopped" by young people

September 1 2017

Are your job ads putting off young applicants? Are your jobs pages easy to navigate? Not sure? You can now get your job application processed "mystery shopped" by young people as part of the Future Proof campaign. To date, 104 employers from across the UK who collectively employer over 2m people have had their entry level job application sites assessed by young people including Boots, Asda, ITV, DWF, BBC and Barclays. By having your site assessed you get the opportunity to gain an insight into any potential barriers in your recruitment processes which might be preventing young people from applying for their roles as well as getting recommendations directly from young people about how you can make your vacancies more attractive and accessible .

Employer Workshop: Breaking down the barriers in recruitment

August 2 2017

Many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds face multiple barriers to employment. From having a disability to fulfilling caring responsibilities, the compound effect of these barriers mean that for these young people finding a job is even more difficult. To tackle this issue, we would like to invite you to a practical workshop, kindly hosted by DWF, focusing on how you can break down the barriers to recruitment for young people who face multiple barriers.

What are #JargonFreeJobs and why do we need them?

June 6 2017

Here's what happened when we joined the Careers Enterprise Company for a 20 minute webinar with enterprise advisors working with schools across the country to talk about why companies need to make their job adverts jargon free.

Looking beyond experience, how can you identify a young candidate’s potential?

May 3 2017

Back in 2015, Business in the Community and City & Guilds Group surveyed 4000 young people about their experiences of finding work. 57% said that companies asking for previous experience was a major barrier for them when they were applying for jobs. Too many employers are relying on standard requirements for previous experience to help sift applicants for entry level roles with little thought about how they could more accurately assess a candidate’s potential to do the job. On 21st June we'll be holding a free workshop for employers in Manchester, looking at how you can use the latest methods to identify a young candidate’s potential in your own business.