As we prepare to leave the EU, one of the biggest tasks is to raise the skills of millions of British people. If we succeed Britain can begin to thrive as an independent country working in the world.
Instead of plugging skills gaps by sucking in people from abroad we have to create and implement a long-term plan for our future that develops streams of skilled people for industries, energy, transportation, services and health care.
'There must be authentic investment in workers, in workforce development and relevant training.'
This means wholesale government intervention and national direction. The state has a role to play as private enterprise lacks the motivation, desire or altruism to tackle the scale of the problem: it will have to be compelled to do the right thing.
The approach must be a coherent one stretching right across our society involving not only government but businesses and industrial sectors, all of our educational institutions such as universities, further education and schools, the civil service and planning departments too.
In whatever schemes that are devised there must be a parity of esteem between academic and technical education. Cultural bias against manufacturing and construction needs to be overcome.
Quality apprenticeships must be created wherever they are needed. There must be authentic investment in workers, in workforce development and relevant training.
A plan at least has been laid out for reskilling in the shipbuilding industry (see At last - a strategy for shipbuilding) – which could serve as a model in other industries. Its implementation must be fought for. Higher education too must be made to play its role at the service of the people, not by making money as an international business (see Free movement? More a free ride for universities).
The earning capacity and productive potential of British workers must increase rapidly; we want better paid, highly skilled jobs. Bridge the skills gap, as we curb immigration into Britain.
There is no need to delay. We should start on this project now, not suddenly panic when we have finally ejected the EU. The EU has no right or ability to interfere with or delay our positive governance as we develop the conditions to make a success of our independence.
Act now – bring everything into play – create the engineers, scientists, civil engineers, builders, doctors and nurses that we urgently require from the British people whom governments are supposed to serve.
With the political will, there is no reason why this cannot be achieved. We have a tremendous resource in our healthy, educated working class but the life of the country must now be turned and organised towards the future we have decided on: independence.