Matt Hancock spoke at the Onward Capital Launch in July on how Britain has been at the forefront of innovation with a new record of hours without coal-generated energy, and how solar power and technology is the future.
Contrary to popular belief, technology creates more jobs than it disrupts but the challenge is that opportunities for automation aren’t spread across the UK. The fourth revolution will only be successful if various factors are taken into consideration.
There were three things Hancock highlighted that would make sure the whole country benefited from the tech revolution.
Firstly, skills are very important, but there is a skills shortage in Britain today. There are not enough people with the skills needed for the jobs that are being created. This means big companies have to recruit overseas workers to fill the available positions.
The schooling system needs to change in order to educate pupils to be able to become a vast variety of future professionals. Britain needs data specialists, automation experts, AI and machine-learning specialists to name a few.
Other future professionals that need more training and resources are doctors, social workers and nurses. These are very important as they will interact and care for people the way machines can’t. Encouraging companies to upgrade their staffs’ skill set is also vitally important and investing in research and development is top priority.
Secondly, the right conditions must be created for innovation. The NHSX was launched, and will make the NHS the platform for innovation. It will simplify the systems and pave the way for the tech transformation. The NHSX will set national standards and policies, and make sure systems can communicate with each other.
Thirdly, Hancock wants to make sure the whole country will benefit from the growing economy.
One of the reasons Brexit is important is that major cities are growing with younger people moving there and the smaller towns are becoming poorer, something that isn’t the case in other countries.
British cities are more liberal and open than ever before. They are becoming richer and younger and are creating the tech-enabled, high-paid jobs of the future. A generation ago, the average age of people living in rural areas matched the number of those in urban areas. Now the age gap is nearly 10 years younger of those living in urban areas than rural areas.
The solution to have young people stay in the smaller towns and villages is to have skills, innovation and aspiration for every community. To succeed after Brexit, the technological advances need to spread across the whole of Britain so that everyone can have thriving communities and opportunities the larger cities offer.
Hancock ended off by saying: “Each person has value to give. So we must invest in skills and training. We must spur innovation and embrace new technologies – as we’re doing in the NHS. And above all, we must ensure everyone shares in the success of this great country. That’s how we make a success of Brexit Britain”.