"The science-based industries are critical to our future prosperity", voiced David Willetts this week as he announced a £52 million investment in new and emerging science talent that has been formed through a partnership between government and industry.
Over a two-year period, the Science Industrial Partnership (SIP) scheme intends to deliver over 1,360 apprenticeships, 240 traineeships and 150 industry degrees, as well as creating 5,900 "workforce development opportunities" through increasing the technical and management capability of the workforce. Willetts delivered the plans at a SIP board meeting - a consortium that includes participation from around 100 leading science sector employers.
The government-industry partnership will be led by GlaxoSmithKline and will focus on the life sciences, chemical and industrial science sectors in a bid to provide the training and skills required for British industry to thrive in the global arena.
The £52 million pot has been achieved through a government contribution of £32.6 million, topped up by £20 million of support from leading industry employers. In addition to the monetary benefits, it is indicated that an addition £31 million in-kind contributions will also support the scheme.
Steve Elliott, CEO of the Chemical Industries Association said, "The Science Industry Partnership is a unique opportunity [to] address current and future skills challenges... By implementing the Science Industry Partnership we will be able to deliver all of the exciting potential of the UK science industries to benefit society as a whole and create a new generation of science workers."
The scheme comes less than a month after Vince Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills urged the UK's top business leaders to support the Generation UK campaign, which aims to see 80,000 UK student work or study in China by 2020 and more broadly allow British students to attain a deeper skill set demanded by a more competitive globalised labour market.