• New strategy includes £165 million skills boost
  • Advanced manufacturing and engineering key to UK growth

Leading sector skills council Semta has welcomed the government’s new industrial vision which puts advanced manufacturing and engineering at the heart of the UK’s growth strategy and includes funding to improve skills provision.

Semta supports the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector which was identified as pivotal in the strategy announced by Business Secretary Vince Cable in a speech to business leaders at London’s Imperial College.

As well as creating a collaborative sector strategy specifically to support growth in advanced manufacturing, the speech confirmed the need for a world class skills policy to be linked closely to the industrial strategy, in order that industry gets the skills they need to continue growing.

Vince Cable then announced that 34 bids had been successful in the first round of the Employer Ownership pilot scheme. The £67 million public funding, matched by £98 million of private investment, supports employers in putting together radical plans to develop their own training programmes.

The new industrial vision also includes plans for a new “business bank” to help companies finance their expansion, a new Innovation and Knowledge centre to boost commercialisation of research, and government procurement reform to make sure that businesses have confidence to take long-term investment decisions.

Actions outlined in the industrial strategy speech will create more apprenticeships, vocational training opportunities and other learning such as work experience and work placements.

Said Semta’s UK Operations Director Lynn Tomkins: “We are delighted to have a long term, strategic partnership between government and industry to give businesses clarity on where the Government will be concentrating its efforts. And Semta looks forward to supporting sector strategy development.

“The Business Secretary has made clear that advanced manufacturing and engineering is key to the UK’s industrial growth plan. Firms working with Semta are keen to take ownership of skills and to work together to help drive increases in the recruitment of apprentices and graduates as well as upskilling the current workforce and ensuring the sector priorities and needs are addressed.”

As the vast majority of sector companies are SMEs, Semta has launched an Apprenticeship Service which makes it easier to hire and train apprentices. And understanding the need for higher level skills, Semta has increased the number of advanced and higher apprenticeship starts by 25 per cent in the last year and has launched a Higher Apprenticeship in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering which can lead to IEng status and the opportunity to complete an engineering degree.

With a need to upskill 363,000 of the existing workforce to global standards, Semta has launched The Advanced Skills Accreditation Scheme to deliver Master’s degree level training in new technologies to the UK supply chain employers and a full range of training programmes and courses to meet sector priorities.