•  Region-wide, secure, digital infrastructure to underpin transformation of public services
  • Social Innovation programme to boost digital skills, innovation with SMEs, and access to services

GREATER MANCHESTER, UK, October 20th, 2022 – At the birthplace of the industrial revolution, and where the atom was first split, Cisco has today announced a strategic partnership with Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) to further its vision of becoming a world-leading digital city region.

With Cisco and a consortium of partners, GMCA will enable the transformation of public services, underpinned by a programme of social value initiatives to support digital inclusion and address the digital divide across the region.

The GM One network will reach from local government, education, transportation and fire and rescue sites with the opportunity to expand in the future to other areas of the public sector such as other emergency services and health. Evolving the way people interact with and benefit from public services in the region.

Cisco, the worldwide leader in technology that powers the Internet, will deploy a secure, self-monitoring, region-wide digital infrastructure to underpin public services. Working in tandem with existing infrastructure, the platform will deliver continuous trusted access to everything and everyone in the public sector. It will allow local authorities to improve information sharing, reduce their carbon footprint, and introduce more intuitive and joined-up citizen services. In doing so, the digital infrastructure will also enable support for new technology solutions for indoor and outdoor connectivity, such as 5G, WiFi6 and Open Roaming.

A City of firsts; accelerating the ambition of Greater Manchester

Greater Manchester’s economy has grown twice as fast as London’s since 2014 and Manchester was recently named the fastest growing city in Europe for attracting significant tech investment and cutting-edge start-ups. The city is home to the largest digital and creative industries sector outside of London, generating £5 billion of economic activity and creating high-value jobs for more than 86,000 people. Much of this success has been driven by the GMCA and its ambitious plans to transform the region into one of the most digitally connected and technologically advanced in Europe.

“This is a huge achievement for Greater Manchester’s public sector and really demonstrates the value of collaboration. Through transforming our public services, we are boosting our towns and cities, cementing our position as a world leading digital-city region. Ensuring our services are more efficient supports our ambition that everyone in Greater Manchester, whatever their age, location or situation, can benefit from the opportunities digital brings.” Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester

The acceleration of digital transformation, catalysed by the pandemic, has exponentially increased the reliance on the internet and the wider adoption of online services across the public and private sectors. According to new CEBR research commissioned by Cisco, improved connectivity, faster internet speeds and wider technology adoption could add £4.8 billion in productivity gains to the Greater Manchester economy, by 2030.

According to the same report, improving employability of the digitally excluded could add £203 million to the economy of the Northwest in the next eight years, while increased earnings driven by wider digital skills adoption could add an additional £1.8 billion to the local economy.

The home of the UK’s first public library in 1653, free and fair access to education is core to Manchester

To ensure all citizens have the opportunity to benefit from the digital economy, the Cisco Networking Academy will work with authorities across Greater Manchester to provide digital skills training, either to those who lack basic skills or are looking to develop them further.

Supporting delivery and scale of the Cisco Networking Academy programme across the region, higher education provider UCEN Manchester is a long-term Cisco accredited training provider that offers a myriad of digital skills training opportunities which are collaboratively delivered with Cisco.

As one of only a few Cisco Academy Support and Instructor Training Centres in the UK, UCEN Manchester facilitates foundation level digital skills training for anyone in the region through the free, self-paced, mobile first Cisco platform ‘Skills for All’, as well as degree and professional qualifications in networking, cyber security, and more industry specific roles including those that will apply to the new roles and services to be created across the GM One network

In September UCEN Manchester opened its brand-new City Campus Manchester which will provide state-of-the-art facilities where students will be able to develop the skills they will require to connect them with the digital careers that exist in the region. This includes in a dedicated Cisco lab as well as an operations system lab, a cyber-security lab and operations room and a CCNA room with adjoining patch room.

With the goal of helping individuals of all backgrounds to take advantage of new employment opportunities and boost social mobility, those taking part in training will also have access to support programmes. Cisco and its partners will also run Apprenticeship and work placement programmes to create new job opportunities for the local community.

Local, social value & innovation

As part of its Country Digital Acceleration programme, Cisco will also create a new Social Innovation Programme to ensure that those who live, work and create in Manchester are able to utilise the digital infrastructure. The programme aims to leverage the entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems of the Greater Manchester region, to support socially-oriented start-ups and R&D institutions to design and deliver products and services achieving socially-beneficial outcomes.

Commenting on the partnership with GMCA, Adele Every, Head of Public Sector, Cisco UK & Ireland said: “Greater Manchester’s bold ambitions to build a fairer, more sustainable, and prosperous community align very closely with Cisco’s vision for a more digitally inclusive nation. By widening access to digital skills and advancing technology, our partnership will enable the GMCA to revolutionise citizen services, while driving economic growth opportunities from which everyone can benefit and helping to realise the region’s ambition of becoming a world-leading digital innovation hub.”

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About GMCA

Greater Manchester is one of the country’s most successful city-regions. Home to more than 2.8 million people and with an economy bigger than that of Wales or Northern Ireland. Our vision is to make Greater Manchester one of the best places in the world to grow up, get on and grow old. We’re getting there through a combination of economic growth, and the reform of public services.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority(GMCA) is made up of the ten Greater Manchester councils and Mayor, who work with other local services, businesses, communities and other partners to improve the city-region. Home – Greater Manchester Combined Authority (greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk)


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Amy Lucas, Head of Communications, Cisco UK & Ireland


+44 788 191 8160