UK : A training revolution to boost the skills of 16 to 24-year-olds is to be launched by Theresa May as part of a new Modern Industrial Strategy. She aims to shake up technical education with a £170m investment in new technical colleges for young people who do not go to university.
A new research institution will also be set up to develop technologies like electric cars and boost energy supplies in a bid to cut household bills for consumers.
The Prime Minister will launch the strategy at her first Cabinet meeting outside London, in the northwest of England on Monday, ahead of a Green Paper on Tuesday.
“Our modern industrial strategy is a critical part of our plan for post-Brexit Britain,” said Mrs May ahead of the skills shake-up. As we leave the EU it will help us grasp the bigger prize: the chance to build that stronger, fairer Britain that stands tall in the world and is set up to succeed in the long-term. And it is a vital step towards building a country where prosperity is shared and there is genuine opportunity for all. Our action will help ensure young people develop the skills they need to do the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.
“That means boosting technical education and ensuring we extend the same opportunity and respect we give university graduates to those people who pursue technical routes.” The training shake-up will attempt to address concerns that Britain’s education system is failing to teach youngsters the skills necessary for the country to compete.
A report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has revealed that England is the only country where 16 to 24-year-olds are no more literate or numerate than 55 to 64-year-olds. “The UK has some of the best universities in the world and our schools are improving,” said the Business Secretary, Greg Clark, who will launch the Green Paper.
“Yet for too long technical education for school leavers has been neglected – with large differences in skill levels between regions.” “We must improve skills and opportunities so we can close the gap between the best people, places and businesses and the rest.”
“It is about making our country one of the most competitive places in the world to start and grow a business. We are inviting people throughout the UK to contribute to this work to create a high-skilled economy that works for everyone.”
The £170m for overhauling technical education is to be spent on setting up institutes of technology teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics, so-called STEM subjects.
There will also be reform of technical qualifications, a university-style application system for courses, specialist maths schools and action to tackle skills shortages. As well as boosting skills and training, Number 10 is pledging further research and development in battery technology, energy storage and grid technology.
The OECD has also revealed that Britain currently invests just 1.7% of GDP on R&D, well below the average of 2.4%. The Green Paper on industrial strategy – a consultation paper – will feature a call for suggestions on how to boost the UK’s industrial sector.
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