BSRIA has welcomed government’s Industrial Strategy which has set out four “Grand Challenges” to put the UK at the forefront of the industries of the future: AI & Data Economy; Future of Mobility; Ageing Society and Clean Growth: “we will maximise the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth”.
Key policies include: ideas; business environment; infrastructure; places and people: an additional £406m in maths, digital and technical education, helping to address the shortage of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills.
The strategy specifically highlights driving up the study of maths which should not be perceived as an exceptional talent: it is a basic skill that can be mastered with the right teaching and approach, as shown by OECD evidence from successful models such as Singapore, Switzerland and Denmark.
It has also stressed the need to create a new National Retraining Scheme that supports people to re-skill, starting with a £64m investment for digital and construction training.
And: “Prospering from the energy revolution – around 80 per cent of global energy use still comes from fossil fuels and to preserve a safe and stable climate, this has to change fast. Countries all over the world are moving to renewable energy. But for the majority of our energy to be clean and affordable, we need much more intelligent systems. Smart systems can link energy supply, storage and use, and join up power, heating and transport to increase efficiency dramatically. The move to cleaner economic growth – through low carbon technologies and the efficient use of resources – is one of the greatest industrial opportunities of our time”.
Julia Evans, BSRIA chief executive, said: “It is heartening to see that government aims to boost STEM skills with extensive funding and in particular the reference to the importance of maths. And the need to create a new National Retraining Scheme that supports people in re-skilling, starting with a £64m investment for digital – using artificial intelligence – and construction training. The scheme will then be rolled out across other key sectors. We await further detail on how such training will manifest but this is unquestionably vital since the UK’s housing crisis is, without a shadow of doubt, one of the biggest challenges we face as a country and such investment is needed to attract, train and retain workers to build the houses we need.
The White Paper can be viewed here.