The University of Manchester

Manchester acknowledged as UNESCO City of Lifelong Learning

Manchester has been granted the prestigious title of a UNESCO City of Lifelong Learning, in recognition of its exceptional efforts to ensure lifelong learning opportunities are available to all residents. The University of Manchester, playing a crucial role as a key partner, has been instrumental in this achievement.

Among 64 cities from 35 different countries, Manchester has joined the esteemed UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC). This international network comprises 356 cities that have successfully promoted lifelong learning within their communities.

UNESCO learning cities, such as Manchester, emphasize the vital connections between education, skills, communities, employers, and the public sector. Manchester’s application for lifelong learning was collaboratively designed with over 150 organizations.

The University of Manchester is taking the lead on digital skills as part of the city’s lifelong learning approach. This movement aims to connect, validate, and nurture learning opportunities, supporting the city’s economy and promoting high-quality, inclusive education in all aspects of life.

Expressing her pride, Professor Danielle George, Associate Vice President Blended and Flexible Learning at The University of Manchester, stated, “Manchester is a city that fosters social cohesion, economic and cultural prosperity, and sustainable development. We are thrilled to be part of this exciting network and contribute to lifelong learning for all, realizing the universal right to education.”

The University’s Flexible Learning Programme played a significant role in the successful bid and continues to prioritize flexibility in terms of location, pace, and educational pathways. The goal is to provide inclusive and accessible education, serving as a lifelong learning partner. In order to address the challenges of accessing talent and specific digital skills, the Flexible Learning Programme, supported by Turing Innovation Catalyst Manchester, will lead the development of Manchester’s Digital Skill Framework (MDSF). This collaborative ecosystem will bring together industry experts, training providers, and relevant stakeholders to design a user-focused digital skills framework.

Professor Ang Davies, Academic Lead for Flexible Pathways and Lifelong Learning at The University of Manchester, highlighted Manchester’s aspirations to become a global hub of digital innovation, evident in the city’s digital strategy. Developing a strong talent pool and addressing digital skills gaps, particularly in areas such as data science and AI, will be crucial. The university is delighted to work alongside the city in its lifelong learning program, developing Manchester’s digital skills framework and bridging the gap between provider expertise and employer demands.

To learn more about Manchester’s commitment to teaching and learning excellence, visit

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