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Industrial strategy 'shaping new future for UK as a global Britain' says PM

Prime Minister Theresa May has said the Government's flagship new industrial strategy will be about "shaping a new future for the UK as a global Britain" after Brexit.

A £170 million investment in new "prestigious" institutes of technology, alongside a fresh approach to science and innovation, will be the cornerstones of the new strategy.

Mrs May will launch the strategy at her first regional Cabinet meeting, in the north west of England, on Monday.

It is aimed at improving living standards, productivity and the spread of economic growth around the UK.

The Prime Minister told BBC One's The Andrew Marr Show: "It's about saying what are our strengths, as we come out of the European Union, we're coming together as a country, we're forging our shape, our future.

"We're shaping a new future for the UK as a global Britain, and how can we do that."

She added: "What the modern industrial strategy will be about will be saying what is the shape of the economy that we want in the future.

"Where are the successful sectors that we can help to encourage to grow, but also what are the sectors that we need to look at for the future too.

"You've mentioned technical education, but there's a lot we can do in science and innovation."

At its heart will be an overhaul of technical education, including £170 million of capital funding to set up institutes of technology to deliver education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) subjects.

Mrs May also highlighted plans to extend specialist maths schools, and a new research institute looking at battery and storage technology.

Thousands of technical qualifications, many of which the Government sees as low quality, will be replaced with 15 core technical "routes" designed to meet the needs of industry and teach skills in demand from local employers.

A new Ucas-style system of searching and applying for technical courses may be introduced to give interested young people clearer information and better support, creating a "genuine parity of aspiration" with university students.

And the Government will test moves to encourage lifelong learning, particularly in areas where industries are changing or in decline, including a review of whether to introduce maintenance loans for higher technical education.

Commenting on the plans, which will be outlined in a Green Paper, Business Secretary Greg Clark said: "The UK has some of the best universities in the world and our schools are improving, yet for too long technical education for school leavers has been neglected - with large differences in skill levels between regions.

"We must improve skills and opportunities so we can close the gap between the best people, places and businesses and the rest."

Commons Education Committee chairman Neil Carmichael welcomed the announcement and said it could help Britain "go a long way" towards filling its 82,000-strong annual engineering skills gap.

The Tory MP also welcomed the move towards a Ucas-style system for technical education.

"This is excellent news in my mind," he told the Press Association.

"Stem subjects are exactly what we should be focusing on and high quality prestigious technical colleges, absolutely right."

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