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Skills for Scotland: A Lifelong Skills Strategy

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chapter 6
the call to action: what government, learning providers, employers and individuals need to do next

There are several priorities for action which have emerged in developing our workforce and tackling the skills deficits that are barriers to employability and employment:

Individual Development

1. Developing a distinctively Scottish approach to skills acquisition, balancing the needs of employers and individuals, aligning employment and skills and placing the individual at the centre of learning and skills development.

2. Developing a coherent funding support system for individuals of all ages and in all forms of education and training that encourages participation in learning and work. This will include support for individuals to increase control and choice over their learning and skills development.

3. Ensuring that this Strategy will promote equal access to and participation in, skills and learning for everyone. This Strategy aims to promote equality of opportunity to those trapped by persistent disadvantage and to improve numbers of people economically active including those from groups such as race, disability, gender, sexual orientation, age and religion/faith and educational starting points.

Economic Pull

4. Stimulating increased demand for skills from employers, both public and private, by:

  • encouraging employers to develop ambitious business strategies from which a need for higher level skills will flow;
  • helping employers to articulate what they need now and what they are going to need in the future;
  • supporting the capacity of learning providers to engage with employers and understand and respond to their needs; and
  • creating structures that facilitate closer working between employers and learning providers.

5. Improving the utilisation of skills in the workplace, through:

  • encouraging better management and leadership and improved human resource practices (including recruitment) across the range of employers in Scotland;
  • supporting job design that encourages autonomy, makes better use of employees and stimulates enterprise and innovation in the workplace;
  • improving links between skills and the other drivers of productivity, such as investment in technology and infrastructure; and
  • ensuring that individuals can use the skills they have acquired through learning in a way that immediately benefits their employer.

6. Understanding current and projected demands for skills to help prepare for future skills needs.

7. Challenging employers, learning providers, awarding bodies and others to use the SCQF as a tool to support learning, specifically to facilitate the recognition of learning and for enabling individuals to move smoothly through learning environments, getting credit for learning they have already achieved.

Cohesive Structures

8. Simplifying structures to make it easier for people to access the learning, training and development they need, including formal and informal learning by merging a number of bodies into one, focussed on skills.

9. Ensuring that Curriculum for Excellence provides vocational learning and the employability skills needed for the world of work and is the foundation for skills development throughout life.

10. Achieving parity of esteem between academic and vocational learning, recognising that vocational learning is a valuable alternative to the academic pathway and important to all.

11. Challenging our funding bodies to use their budgets to help achieve a stepchange in skills development and use.

12. Encouraging providers to see themselves as part of a continuum of provision - links in a chain - which helps individuals to see the relevance of learning to them, progress in their learning and make full and effective use of the skills they have acquired. Judging that system by how well it serves those who need the most support.

Annex A provides a list of actions that we believe the various agents involved in the skills development and training agenda need to undertake in order to catalyse a stepchange in skills for Scotland.

These lists are not intended to be exhaustive but are intended to act as the starting point for our 'Call to Action'. What they have in common is that together they represent a challenge both to Government and to all those involved in the skills agenda to tell us how you are going to work with us:

  • where we have issued challenges we expect to see a response;
  • where we have said we will make changes, we will work with you to deliver these; and
  • where we have indicated that we need further policy development, we will do this in partnership.

Partnership - between Government, employers, individuals and learning and training providers - is the key to delivering on these priorities and our success depends on a shared vision of what we need to achieve.