Manchester recognised as UNESCO City of Lifelong Learning

Manchester has today become a UNESCO City of Lifelong Learning, in recognition of outstanding efforts to make lifelong learning a reality for all, with The University of Manchester acting as a key partner.

Manchester is one of 64 cities, from 35 countries, to join the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC).

The UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities is an international network comprising of 356 cities that successfully promote lifelong learning across their communities.

A key feature of UNESCO learning cities is the connections between education and skills, communities, employers and the public sector. Manchester’s lifelong learning application was co-designed with 150+ organisations.

The University of Manchester is leading on digital skills as part of Manchester’s lifelong learning approach, a movement of people, services and place, to connect, validate and nurture learning, to support the city economy and to promote high quality and inclusive learning, for all aspects of our life.

Manchester is a city that creates and reinforces social cohesion, economic and cultural prosperity, and sustainable development. The University of Manchester is so proud to be part of this exciting network and to support our wonderful city facilitate lifelong learning for all and help realise the universal right to education.


Professor Danielle George, Associate Vice President Blended and Flexible Learning at The University of Manchester, said: "Manchester is a city that creates and reinforces social cohesion, economic and cultural prosperity, and sustainable development. The University of Manchester is so proud to be part of this exciting network and to support our wonderful city facilitate lifelong learning for all and help realise the universal right to education."

The University’s Flexible Learning Programme contributed to the successful bid and continues to focus on delivering flexibility in terms of place, pace and pathway. We aim to develop inclusive and accessible education to be a learning partner for life. To address the challenges around accessing talent and sector-specific digital skills, our Flexible Learning Programme, supported by Turing Innovation Catalyst Manchester, will lead on the development of Manchester’s Digital Skill Framework (MDSF). This ecosystem will bring together industry, training providers and relevant stakeholders together to co-design a user-focused digital skills framework.

Professor Ang Davies, Academic Lead for Flexible Pathways and Lifelong Learning at The University of Manchester, said: "Manchester’s ambitions to become a global city of digital innovation are evident in the city’s digital strategy. Building a strong talent pipeline and addressing digital skills gaps in areas such as data science and AI will be critical. We are delighted to be working with the city on its lifelong learning programme to develop Manchester’s digital skills framework, allowing us to address the gaps and match provider expertise with employer demand."