Manchester Innovation Activities Hub reveals first training collaboration to kick-start ambitious re-skilling programme

Manchester Innovation Activities Hub (MIAH), has announced its first training collaboration with worldwide leader in IT, networking and cybersecurity solutions, Cisco, by becoming affiliated with its Cisco Networking Academy programme.

As a Cisco Academy, MIAH will provide industry standard training, hands on labs, and accreditation in areas including Cyber Security, Design Thinking, Automation and the Internet of Things through the lens of electric vehicles propulsion, batteries and energy storage technologies.

This is an important step to achieve its ambitions of rapidly upskilling, reskilling and retraining of more than 5,000 local residents over the next five years. MIAH alumni will be fast-tracked into hard-to-fill occupations that require specialist technical skills, to support the growth of Greater Manchester businesses, as part of Greater Manchester’s COVID recovery plan.

The hub, will target unemployed youth (Kickstart Scheme), low income residents as well as professionals who’ve recently lost their jobs. MIAH will prepare them for skilled employment within the low carbon, advanced manufacturing, tech and health innovation sectors.

Marilyn Comrie OBE, director of business development at The Blair Project, the organisation leading MIAH, explains:

“Our collaboration with Cisco is the first step in supporting Greater Manchester to become a leader in the low carbon economy, through the design, development and manufacturing of power electronics, machines and drives. “We are so excited to work with such a high-profile organisation to create job opportunities and provide training to people in these essential technologies. The work of MIAH and its partnership with leaders in technology and training will be essential in supporting the region’s recovery from COVID-19, which has severely impacted a number of sectors as well as Greater Manchester LEP’s vision for a greener and fairer Greater Manchester, as well as the drive to make Greater Manchester carbon neutral by 2038.”

Cisco Networking Academy is a global education program that empowers students with career possibilities in IT, cybersecurity, and more. The program is licensed free of charge to qualified learning institutions in 180 countries. Established in 1997, it is the world’s largest and longest-running corporate social responsibility education program, with 12.6M participants to date.

Nuno Guarda, head of corporate affairs, Cisco Networking Academy, UK & Ireland, said:

“The Cisco Networking Academy aims to help its education partners harness the power of technology and education to provide career opportunities that transform the lives of learners, educators and communities. We’re proud to be working with such an inspiring organisation and expanding access to the programme in Manchester. “We look forward to working closely with everyone involved in MIAH to empower students with technical knowledge in high-demand job areas, as well as the broader skills required for collaboration.”

Sean Fielding, GMCA lead for digital, education, skills, work and apprenticeships, said:

“It is fantastic to see the hub and the Cisco Networking Academy coming together to educate, upskill and reskill residents across Greater Manchester. I have no doubt that this new highly-skilled workforce will be essential in helping the region achieve its 2038 target of being carbon neutral.”

Opening from a temporary home at the Greenheys Centre in May, MIAH will move to its permanent home at Bruntwood’s BASE development on Manchester Science Park in 2022. MIAH will utilise 15,000 sq ft in the new 90,000 sq ft building, which will be a hub for computer engineering, energy technology, light manufacturing and materials science businesses.