What does the industrial strategy mean for project management?
Posted by Kirsten on 14th Nov 2017
Your project management skills are key to building the UK economy. Find out how at the APM Project Management Conference Manchester, sponsored by Hyde Park Solutions Ltd. The conference will focus on how project management can assist in increasing productivity and helping industry deliver projects on time and to budget, and how this should be reflected in the government’s industrial strategy. Discover what could be next for project managers as the strategy takes shape, with investment in new skills and new projects to boost infrastructure across the UK.
The APM Project Management Conference Manchester has used the government’s green paper, Building an Industrial Strategy, published in January 2017, as the basis for its regional conference theme this year. The green paper sets out the government’s plans for supporting the UK’s industrial sectors, improving productivity, driving growth across the country and making British business more competitive. It highlights 10 areas for growth, referred to as the 10 pillars of the industrial strategy.
These areas were proposed as evidence shows that they drive growth. Places with higher rates of investment in research and development, more highly skilled people, better infrastructure, more affordable energy and higher rates of capital investment grow faster and have higher levels of productivity.
Policies on trade, procurement and sectors are tools that can be used to drive growth by increasing competition and encouraging innovation and investment. Through central government actions and by strengthening the local institutions that support a more productive economy it is believed that growth can be driven across the whole country.
The conference will look at ‘What is Next’ for nine of these pillars, including:
- Developing skills – we must help people and businesses to thrive by: ensuring everyone has the basic skills needed in a modern economy; building a new system of technical education to benefit the half of young people who do not go to university; boosting STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills, digital skills and numeracy; and by raising skill levels in lagging areas. The final report of the Industrial Strategy Commision, published on 1 November 2017 concluded that the new industrial strategy should embrace technological change and seek to capture the benefits. It should recognise the state’s essential role in driving technological innovation, and focus on diffusion, as much as disruption. Jean Llewellyn OBE from National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSAN) will be presenting on Developing Skills for Nuclear.
- Delivering affordable energy and clean growth – we need to keep costs down for businesses, and secure the economic benefits of the transition to a low-carbon economy.
- Investing in science, research and innovation – we must become a more innovative economy and do more to commercialise our world leading science base to drive growth across the UK. James Baker, The University of Manchester, will be presenting on Graphene - the route to commercialisation.
- Cultivating world-leading sectors – we must build on our areas of competitive advantage, and help new sectors to flourish, in many cases challenging existing institutions and incumbents. Liz Crowhurst, CBI will be presenting on this topic.
It is often argued that UK infrastructure lacks a long-term vision. This leads to disjointed and inefficient delivery. The industrial strategy identifies that long-term funding certainty is the best way to plan infrastructure investment. APM supports this approach. We know that one of the main conditions for project success is a clear and long-term plan before work starts. Businesses require financial stability and low levels of political uncertainty in order to invest in large-scale projects, such as infrastructure. APM is pleased to see the government recognise this through the good work of the National Infrastructure Commission and the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. However, there is a need to build on this momentum and reach political consensus on the strategy as a whole, as well as on many of the key projects.
As it prepares a new strategy, the government must think about industrial strategy as strategic economic management. It involves the long-term co-ordination of all interactions between public and private sectors and incorporate the following strategic goals:
- Decarbonisation of the energy economy whilst maintaining affordability and security of the energy supply.
- Ensuring adequate investment in infrastructure to meet current and future needs and priorities.
- Developing a sustainable health and social care system.
- Unlocking long-term investment - and creating a stable environment for long-term investments.
- Supporting established and emerging high-value industries - and building export capacity in a changing trading environment.
- Enabling growth in parts of the UK outside London.
A new strategy should have an ambition to achieve positive outcomes and make material differences to people’s everyday lives. Join us on Tuesday 5 December as we discover how project management can harness these goals and incorporate them into our industry.
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Professor Peter Hansford is chair of construction and infrastructure policy in the Bartlett School of Construction and Project Management at University College London and will present on the Unlocking infrastructure investment stream at the APM Project Management Conference Manchester: What Next?