Last month the government’s Business Secretary, Greg Clark, launched an ambitious Industrial Strategy setting out a long term vision for how the UK can built on its economic strengths, increase productivity performance, fully embrace technological change and boost the earnings power of the population. The Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF) will invest a massive £725 million in ISCF programmes to harness the power of innovation in the future. The Industrial Strategy aims to make the UK the world’s most innovative nation by the year 2030 and has committed to “Sector Deals” for construction, artificial intelligence (AI), automotive and life sciences to help these sectors grow and equip British businesses for future opportunities.
The Prime Minister backed the launch saying that Britain needs to forge a new path for itself as we leave the European Union and create the type of conditions necessary for successful businesses to emerge and grow while making sure young people possess the skills required to take on the type of high-paid, high-skilled jobs that will be created in the future.
The Strategy focuses on five key foundations of productivity:
· Business Environment
The government has promised to create a watchdog to monitor progress in innovation and the increasing level of workplace skills that the Strategy is designed to encourage. School and college performance measures will be updated to make sure that young people are able to make an informed choice between an academic and technical education in plenty of time for the introduction of the T-levels. T-levels are the new technical qualifications that have been developed with the aim of simplifying the process of vocational training in England.
There are also plans for an £8.5 million pilot scheme to test innovative approaches to improve outcomes in basic maths for those over the age of 16. In addition, the government will spend an additional £406 million on maths, digital and technical education in order to address the shortage of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills.
The Industrial Strategy has been hailed as vital to the future prosperity of the UK because without the necessary levels of investment and the implementation of the current skills policies, our workforce here in the UK will struggle to cope.
These developments are being welcomed by both industry leaders and educators as the economic success of Britain after Brexit will heavily depend on being able to use the talents and abilities of the UK population. Ensuring that young people possess the skills which will enable them to improve productivity and cope with rapid technological change so that they can meet the challenges of an uncertain future is vital for the country as a whole.
Furthermore, the government has also committed to investing up to £20 million annually in the next two years to help colleges develop the skills of their staff to deliver a T-level education and will collaborate with leading employers on the design and delivery of T-levels before the end of this year.