The Government launched its Industrial Strategy Green Paper on 23 January, setting out how it will make long-term decisions about the UK’s economic future when we leave the European Union.
We set out some headlines here, highlighting below some of the areas that may be relevant to craft.
- Sir Peter Bazalgette will conduct an independent review into how the UK’s creative industries can help underpin our future prosperity by utilising and developing new technology, capitalising on intellectual property rights, and growing talent pipelines.
- There will be investment in new routes for technical education
- There will be more investment in innovation and ‘everyday entrepreneurs’ through a challenge prize programme to be piloted by Nesta. This will inform Government support, for example through incubators and maker spaces.
Crafts Council view
Overall, the Crafts Council welcomes the Green Paper which recognises the achievements of the creative industries. We are delighted that Sir Peter Bazalgette will be conducting a review of how the creative industries can continue to grow and we look forward to contributing.
The Green Paper has the potential to improve support to craft businesses, in particular if the strategy embraces the specific needs of micro businesses and sole traders. In our view the process of innovation and the need for R&D does not always correlate with size of business.
We will also be making the case in our response that technical education will only thrive if measures are taken to reverse the 41% decline in the number of GCSE Design & Technology students between 2007/07 and 2014/15 (see Studying Craft 16), recognising the role of creative skills.
The Green Paper – summary of areas that may assist craft.
The strategy is structured around ten pillars. The following areas are likely to have relevance to craft:
1. Investing in science, research and innovation
- New Sector-specific funding will be available to support business investment in R&D and a new Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is to help capitalise on strengths in research and innovation, including in manufacturing processes and materials of the future.
- There will be more investment in innovation and ‘everyday entrepreneurs’ through a challenge prize programme to be piloted by NESTA. This will inform Government support, for example through incubators and maker spaces.
- There will be more incentives created by the Intellectual Property system to stimulate collaborative innovation and licensing opportunities. Intellectual Property Office representatives will be placed in key UK cities.
2. Developing skills
The paper consults on how to create a new system of technical education, including:
- Creating clearer, high quality routes for technical education (creating 15 core technical “routes” at Levels 4+ (above the equivalent of A-level standard)).
- (an aspiration) that every student undertaking one of the technical education routes in college will be entitled to a high quality, substantive work placement. Pilots will be launched with employers and colleges later in the year
- Higher level technical education and new Institutes of Technology in all regions.
- Students to have a clear view of their progression, whether to higher levels of training including undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, or to direct entry into skilled employment.
- Creating a course-finding process for technical education similar to the UCAS process. The Government is reviewing the current careers offer for people of all ages, and will publish a comprehensive strategy later this year for careers information, advice and guidance.
4. Supporting businesses to start and grow
- The Government has launched an independent review of the UK’s Small Business Research Initiative to examine how we can use strategic procurement to support businesses developing innovative new products and services. The Crafts Council has already responded to SBRI consultation, highlighting the need for the SBRI to be more explicit in targeting micro businesses.
- The Minister for Small Business will take the role of ‘Scale-up Champion’, working to support high growth scale-up companies across the UK.
- The Government will explore how data – such as that held by HMRC and Companies House – can be used to identify scale-up businesses and to enable local organisations to better identify, target and evaluate support more effectively. A review into entrepreneurship will be led by the Chief Entrepreneurial Adviser at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, entrepreneur Professor Tim Dafforn, to assess the support currently available to entrepreneurs and identify gaps in current policy. It will examine the entire entrepreneurial journey, focusing on the motivations and opportunities for those embarking on business ventures, from education to business development and growth.
6. Encouraging trade and inward investment – government policy can help boost productivity and growth across our economy, including by increasing competition and helping to bring new ways of doing things to the UK.
- The new Department for International Trade will upgrade support for investors and exporters. This will include exploring where there are sectors in the UK which could benefit from support to create recurring international trade fairs.
- The Department for International Trade will encourage more people to visit, study, invest in and do business with the UK through the GREAT campaign. It will also build future trading relationships, encouraging countries such as Canada, China, India, Mexico, Singapore and South Korea. It will look to future trading relationships eg with Australia and the Gulf states and scope ‘horizon markets’ such as Nigeria, Pakistan and Kenya.
The Crafts Council has already highlighted to Government that it is unacceptable that there are currently no official export figures for craft.
8. Cultivating world-leading sectors
The Green Paper acknowledges that the UK has some world-leading sectors that have generated significant growth in recent years and that these includes the creative industries.
The Government will challenge all sectors of the economy to upgrade through ‘Sector Deals’ - an ‘open door’ challenge to industry to come to the Government with proposals to transform and upgrade their sector. The Government is looking for businesses to collaborate with other stakeholders, such as universities and local leaders, to produce a clear proposal for boosting the productivity of their sector, setting out detailed plans to address challenges. Sir Peter Bazalgette will conduct an independent review into how the UK’s creative industries, like our world-leading music and video games industries, can help underpin our future prosperity by utilising and developing new technology, capitalising on intellectual property rights, and growing talent pipelines.
9. Driving growth across the whole country
The focus is on closing the gap in productivity in different areas of the country. Measures to close the skills gap could include:
- Improved pre-school education to reduce the divergence of achievement which opens up before school;
- New schemes to support the retention and attraction of graduates; and
- Measures to increase the take up of apprenticeships.
10. Creating the right institutions to bring together sectors and places – we will consider the best structures to support people, industries and places. In some places and sectors there may be missing institutions which we could create, or existing ones we could strengthen, be they local civic or educational institutions, trade associations or financial networks.
The Government will work with local areas to help develop industry clusters based around local expertise. This may involve creating new institutions or strengthening existing ones such as educational and innovation institutions, business networks and trade associations, or financial networks and local funds or ‘anchor’ businesses that can support the growth of UK supply chains.
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