At its AGM and Spring Assembly held on 28 April Greater Manchester Chamber members elected Emma Holt as its new President. Emma takes over from Robin Phillips who served for three years and whose term saw many challenges facing the GM business community. In her inaugural speech, Emma paid tribute to Robin for his leadership in unprecedented times and a turbulent three years. She referenced his campaign theme about Connectivity and Innovation and said that she will continue to support him going forward with this campaign as both are vital elements needed for business success in an ever-changing world.
Emma referenced the new Trailblazer Devolution Deal for Greater Manchester, announced in the Spring Budget, and attendees at the Spring Assembly heard about the work that is currently taking place around the skills agenda in support of this. Emma said: “The Mayor has set out clearly his ambitions for an integrated technical skills system for GM and with the work being led by the Chamber in putting the Local Skills Improvement Plan together which will influence this, for businesses in GM the possibility to get a new skills system – a better skills system – one that truly meets demand has never been better.”
She continued: “Skills are fundamental for business and for communities. It isn’t just enough to have a skilled workforce; we also must ensure that employers have access to people when the workforce needs to grow. And in turn make sure all people can get access to those jobs bringing with it the benefit of secure, well-paid employment.
“This isn’t just about upskilling young people or employees, it’s also about giving everyone an opportunity which feeds into one of my other themes around equality, diversity and inclusion, an issue I have spoken about before and which is a passion of mine. Without this we are not a genuine community, and whilst things are improving, they can be a whole lot better.”
Emma concluded with a reference to her 30 years’ experience in legal services businesses and most recently in higher education at Manchester Metropolitan University. She finished with an optimistic look to the future: “With businesses being able to connect and innovate, creating new skilled jobs and everyone able to access those opportunities, we will be a better city region, a better community and a better place.”
The AGM also saw Malcolm Pike re-elected as one of the Chamber’s Vice Presidents and Christian Mancier of Gorvins appointed for his first term as Vice President. Christian said: “With nearly 20 years of involvement in the Chamber, I am honoured to be appointed as a Vice President for Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce. My journey began as a trainee solicitor at Stockport Breakfast Club, and I later served as Stockport Local Chamber President. Over the years I have also sat on various Chamber committees and latterly on the main board. As one of the UK’s largest Chambers, we are at the heart of Greater Manchester’s business community, and I eagerly look forward to supporting our members and driving the growth and success of businesses in Greater Manchester and beyond.”