Four new government investments will be made to support jobs and skills development in manufacturing and engineering, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced today.
A year ago the Government announced New Industry, New Jobs – a strategic plan of investment and support to key industries as the UK looked ahead to economic recovery.
Lord Mandelson spoke today at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, marking the anniversary of the job creation strategy and praising the debate it started on ways to help the economy recover and for the UK to return to being a competitive world force.
“The instinct that made us suspicious of the economic fatalism and dogmatic non-interventionism of the 1980s and 1990s did not really produce the required new ways of thinking, let alone a coherent alternative approach, that enabled us to generate high value jobs in the globalized economy,” Mandelson said. “And I have been struck by the way in which the more recent debate we launched was ripe to be had. There was a real appetite for it.”
“Over the next decade Britain’s economy is going to need a new wave of private sector investment in business creation and job creation, especially in technology-driven and export oriented industries,” he added.
Lord Mandelson announced new steps to take the jobs strategy forward designed to secure economic growth and competitiveness for UK industries.
A new £50 million Joint Investment Programme was announced which will support training and skills development in areas key to recovery and future growth, nurturing STEM subjects at regional academies, the modern form of technical colleges.
A new adult career advancement and careers service will be opened, to give better access to information on the labour market. “We have a shortage of science, technology, engineering and maths graduates in the UK. We also need a new class of technicians. The skills system must be strengthened,” Mandelson said.
The National Skills Academies programme will be expanded, to support the need for skills in specific industries such as rail engineering, biotechnologies, composite materials, and logistics.
Finally, the civic nuclear supply chain in the UK will be developed. The Government offered an £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters that will enable the heavy engineering firm that was rescued from financial ruin in 2005 to construct a 15 kilotonne forging press and associated finishing workshop. The money also pledges to co-fund 1,000 apprenticeships a year in the nuclear energy sector.
New Industry, New Jobs was described by Mandelson as having three main pillars: the role of the Government in developing the core skills that will make the UK competitive, state intervention to target specific growing sectors (from wind energy to biotechnologies) and helping to provide a wider understanding within government of manufacturing supply chains.
“The strategy is about how we seed and nurture future strength. If we abandon this path, we’ll not just impede recovery, but also our future economic success,” the Business Secretary concluded.