The Government has published the Green Paper on its new Industrial Strategy, setting out plans to boost productivity and secure the UK’s future as a global, competitive nation.
CaSE welcomes the Government's comprehensive approach, using the UK's strengths in research and innovation and underpinning with measures to boost STEM skills.
Dr Sarah Main, Executive Director of CaSE, said:
"An industrial strategy sets the agenda for a generation. It's great to see the Government today placing science, research and innovation at the heart of the industrial strategy and the UK's future. Our success in these areas already gives us a global edge which we will surely use in developing our new diplomatic and trade relations. To retain our global edge, we must enable UK's industry to adapt to and embrace the innovations we cannot yet imagine, so it's important the sector deals of the industrial strategy leave room for new fields to emerge and flourish."
"It's heartening to see the Government addressing STEM skills as part of the industrial strategy. The UK has had a persistent shortage of STEM skills in recent years and jobs requiring STEM skills are expected to grow at twice the rate of others in the next decade. When we look at who does science and engineering jobs today, we can see that many in UK society are not drawn to or encouraged to pursue STEM subjects. It is crucial we make sure every child feels capable and comfortable with using the skills of science, maths and engineering to pursue their ideas, so that they will be able to thrive in the jobs of tomorrow."
The UK science base is well-placed to support the Government's aims to deliver an industrial strategy for the whole of the UK as it is already spread across the UK. Universities and further education colleges are present in towns and cities throughout the UK and are well-practised at connecting research, innovation and industry in local areas. Indeed universities and FE colleges already partner successfully to deliver high skill apprenticeships and technical training.
CaSE will take up the invitation to contribute to the Government's industrial strategy and will consult with and feed in the views of our broad membership across colleges, universities, industry, research institutes, charities and trade unions.
The Green Paper echoes calls made by CaSE, that science and engineering apprenticeships should link to professional registration standards to ensure transparency, quality and accountability; and a commitment to closing the Further Education STEM funding gap to ensure that STEM courses are high quality and feasible to deliver. These calls can be found in our 2015 education and skills election briefing.
Proposals put forward in the Green Paper include:
- £170m of new capital funding to establish prestigious Institutes of Technology
- Range of support for sectors, including addressing regulatory barriers to innovation and growth, using trade and investment deals to increase exports, and supporting the creation of new institutions to provide leadership, support innovation or boost skills
- Action to tackle shortages of STEM skills
- Plans to use the successful free school model to expand the provision of specialist maths education across the country
- Testing ambitious new approaches to encourage lifelong learning
You can read the Social Market Foundation/EDF Energy report Jobs of the Future, published last week, which reveals that STEM jobs will grow at double the rate of other occupations between now and 2023.
You can also read CaSE’s response to the extra £2 billion investment in R&D announced by the Government in the 2016 Autumn Statement.