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Skills for Scotland: Accelerating the Recovery and Increasing Sustainable Economic Growth



Scotland's capacity to become a more successful country in the rapidly changing global, innovation driven economy will be significantly influenced by the skills of its people. Continuing to develop a highly, relevantly skilled population, whether in schools, colleges, universities, communities or workplaces, and ensuring this talent and ability is applied effectively in sustainable employment is a priority.

Investment in education and skills has, alongside investment in other priorities, helped individuals across Scotland and the economy through the recession and will aid long term prosperity. For Scotland to become a more successful country there is a need for more and better sustainable employment opportunities and for people to have the skills required to do these jobs effectively. This refreshed skills strategy provides further opportunities and choices for people to develop their skills, helping them to be more successful individually and improving the opportunities for Scotland to realise its full economic potential.

To help empower Scotland's people the policy commitments include:

  • investing record amounts (£1.77 billion) in further and higher education in 2010-11;
  • prioritising skills investment and training commitments by providing over 40,000 training opportunities in 2010-11, including 20,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts, 14,500 training places to support the unemployed, and 800 targeted pathway places for 16 and 17 year olds;
  • ensuring that training opportunities for young people and unemployed people are part of a clear pipeline into permanent and sustainable employment with any employer incentives focused on supporting this;
  • continuing the work through the PACE Partnership to enhance the operation of PACE to minimise the time people affected by redundancy are out of work;
  • further improving Individual Learning Account support for part-time learners to support economic recovery efforts;
  • the universal rollout of 16+ Learning Choices by December 2010 - the new guarantee of an offer of post-16 learning to every young person in the Senior Phase of Curriculum for Excellence who wants one;
  • ensuring, through Curriculum for Excellence, that young people have the necessary skills for learning, life and work needed in the 21st century and that they are enterprising and prepared and ready for the world of work, including self-employment; and
  • better integrating the employment and skills services provided by Jobcentre Plus Scotland and SDS respectively.

Targeted support for young people

Curriculum for ExcellenceCurriculum for Excellence ensures that all young people are more flexible and adaptable and better equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century. It provides a framework that enables all young people, wherever they are learning, to gain the knowledge and skills for learning, life and work they need at every stage, with a strong focus on literacy, numeracy and health and well-being. The opportunity to develop these skills is embedded across all curriculum areas, including via practical applied learning and enterprise in education. Through Curriculum for Excellence: Building the Curriculum 4 - skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work and the development of the SCQF the Scottish Government, local authorities and schools will help ensure that young people are aware of and understand the value of the skills that they are developing and are able to appreciate their relevance to their future learning, life and work. The new National Qualifications for Curriculum for Excellence will be one of the key vehicles for encouraging skills development in schools and colleges. The Scottish Government will also launch a Literacy Action Plan at the end of this year, with commitments from across Government on how to improve the literacy skills of children and adults.

Individual subject "excellence groups" are being established to support Curriculum for Excellence. The role of these groups is to take a view on the skills, attributes and features of excellence in education in each of the subject areas, with the aim of promoting deeper learning, better teaching, active learner engagement, the development of skills and enhanced achievement. There are also several cross-cutting groups, including one for higher order skills.

Supporting our young peopleHelping young people to make a positive transition post-16 is an effective way of ensuring their long-term employability and contribution to society. Through 16+ Learning Choices an offer of post-16 learning is guaranteed for every young person who wants it as an effective route to positive and sustained destinations. It supports the planning and delivery of a coherent, inclusive curriculum in the Senior Phase, enabling individual young people to undertake the learning that is right for them; to get the support they need to take up and sustain their learning; and the scope to base their learning choices on personal needs and aspirations rather than on the option which offers the most generous financial support. Supported by the Scottish Government, every local authority - through the CPPs - is implementing 16+ Learning Choices and is committed to universal delivery by December 2010.

Get Ready for WorkGet Ready for Work, delivered by SDS, is a national work based training framework to support young people with the confidence and transferable skills needed to gain a positive and sustained outcome including employment. This forms part of the commitment to 14,500 training places to support the unemployed in 2010-11. This programme will be focused on offering generic transferable work skills rather than training for specific employment sectors and will be tailored to meet the needs of the individual and reflect local economic drivers. By engaging with employers the programme can also be designed to reflect employer demand and employment opportunities. It is also vital that the Get Ready for Work programme links as effectively as possible with the Modern Apprenticeship programme and other permanent employment opportunities.

Targeted pathwaysIn response to rising youth unemployment, provision for 800 targeted pathway places has been made for 2010-11. These places will be delivered by SDS and are for 16 and 17 year olds who cannot secure a job or a Modern Apprenticeship place but have the potential to do so. This targeted pathway to employment programme will develop career planning and vocational skills provision to help young individuals find sustainable employment.

Record investment in colleges and universitiesThe Scottish Government is investing record amounts in colleges and universities. Within the 2010-11 budget colleges will receive a cash increase of nearly £45m, bringing the total investment to over £693m. These additional resources will help the sector to offer more learning opportunities, especially for young people, as a constructive alternative to unemployment. Similarly universities have received a comparative cash increase of nearly £43m in resource funding for learning, teaching and research compared to 2009-10, enabling people to develop the higher level skills that will foster innovation and drive economic growth. This is continuing to pay dividends, with high levels of both graduate employment and employer satisfaction with those graduates. The latest Scottish Employer Skills Survey (2008) found that around 80% of employers of university leavers and around 75% of college leavers found them well prepared for work

Modern ApprenticeshipsThe Modern Apprenticeship ( MA) programme is crucial to a strong economic recovery for Scotland. These Apprenticeships help ensure that individuals and businesses are equipped with the necessary technical skills and expertise at craft, technician and management level to drive future business success. It is a priority to ensure that Modern Apprenticeships across the diverse range of frameworks 6 (ranging from accountancy to construction to health and social care) are of a high quality and enhance sustainable employment opportunities. Even more ambitious targets have been set for 2010-11 where SDS will offer a flexible range of training opportunities to accelerate economic recovery, including 15,000 new modern apprenticeship opportunities. Provision for an additional 5,000 all-age modern apprenticeships has been made available taking the total offer to 20,000 places in 2010-11. Where possible, employers will be encouraged to consider young people who might otherwise struggle to obtain an apprenticeship place. As part of the 2010-11 provision a £1,000 incentive will be offered by SDS for up to 2,000 MA places for 16 and 17 year olds with a particular focus on those who have participated on the Get Ready for Work programmes and those leaving care.

Supporting individuals into employment

Creating opportunities for unemployed peopleWhile growth has returned to the Scottish economy, unemployment is still rising, job opportunities are restricted and there is greater competition for those jobs that are available. Against this backdrop those most marginalised in the labour market, such as multiply disadvantaged groups and young people entering the labour market for the first time, are experiencing particular difficulties. There must be flexibility to respond to the needs of the newly unemployed who might be closer to the labour market without losing sight of the long term unemployed. For 2010-11 the Scottish Government has prioritised skills investment and training commitments, including 14,500 training places to support the unemployed covering the Get Ready for Work and Training for Work programmes. Training support will be provided, where possible, to businesses employing those who have participated in Get Ready for Work and Training for Work programmes and those with a disability. The support available through PACE will continually improve to ensure all individuals and businesses continue to have the necessary access to advice and support when facing redundancy.

European Social FundsApproximately £200 million from the European Social Fund ( ESF) has gone into 411 projects across Scotland directly helping individuals move towards employment and sustained jobs, largely targeted on the most disadvantaged areas. Significant match funding has also been invested in these projects by the Scottish Government, local government, colleges, and third sector partners. Consideration is currently being given on how the remaining funding under the 2007-2013 ESF programmes can be used in more strategic ways to assist a wide range of people, including those engaged in the labour market and those currently furthest from it. A new priority (Priority 5) will be added to the Lowlands & Uplands Scotland ( LUPS) ESF Programme. Priority 5 will aim to equip individuals with the core, transferable and vocational competencies and skills they require to enter and progress within the labour market and to prepare them for the job opportunities of the future. This will be achieved through a demand led strategic skills pipeline approach that is sensitive to the differing opportunities and needs within each of the local authority areas in the LUPS programme area.

Integrating employment and skillsThe service available to all individuals seeking employment will be improved by better integrating the employment and skills services provided by Jobcentre Plus Scotland and SDS, ensuring that individuals can access timely career advice and support to enhance their employment prospects. Following successful pilots, the service has rolled-out nationally with a focus on those who have reached the three months stage of unemployment.

The UK Government has announced its intention to have one single Work Programme to replace existing employment support for those claiming out of work benefits. The Scottish Government is working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions on the development of this new range of services and will strive to ensure that people in Scotland continue to receive the help and support they need to get back into sustained work.

Training for WorkTraining for Work, delivered by SDS, is the Scottish Government's national training programme for unemployed people who have a strong chance of securing a job with the help of a short, focused, vocational training intervention. This year changes were made to Training for Work to enable people to access it more quickly following a period of unemployment and introduced some further flexibility to get people job-ready. European Social Funding has been used to make a further 3,150 places available. This funding will run to April 2011 to meet additional demand during the economic recovery.

Community Planning PartnershipsCommunity Planning Partnerships play a critical role in planning and delivering employment support services in the community. Their work to tackle poverty and deprivation has been prioritised with investment of £450 million over 2008-11 through the Fairer Scotland Fund. The funding available to CPPs has also been boosted through the allocation of an additional £66.7 million of European Structural Funds. This will provide support for 23,000 individuals due to the increased demands on their services during the economic downturn.

The role of the CPPs in the delivery of further ESF funded plans is being actively considered with the aim of local authorities' Employability Sections working closely with their Economic Development sections and with SDS to create Service Delivery Agreements. CPPs will also be able to more closely align a proportion of their mainstream services - such as education, community learning and development, and health - to generate a combined employment, skills and support service to disadvantaged individuals. The focus will be on equipping people with the flexible competencies they require to access and hold on to jobs now and prepare them for the job opportunities of the future.

Supported employmentIn February 2010 the Supported Employment Framework A Working Life for All Disabled People was launched which recognises the need to address the significant barriers faced by those with a disability in securing jobs of real value in the community. Through this framework the Scottish Government will work with local government and other partners to collectively develop and deliver a more coherent and consistent system that helps make sustainable employment a reality for more disabled people across Scotland.

Support for carersIt is estimated that there are over 650,000 unpaid carers in Scotland, many of them women, providing support, care and assistance to family members, friends and neighbours affected by physical and mental illness, disability, frailty or substance misuse. Over half of the identified carers are of working age and many combine caring responsibilities with employment, either full-time or part-time, whilst others want to access employment, training, further or higher education. Some carers have to give up employment or reduce their working hours because of their caring responsibilities either due to the worsening ill-health of the person they care for or because they cannot access reliable support for the cared-for person.

Carers can gain many transferable skills through their carer role, for example, in the areas of negotiation, brokerage and time-management. Carers should be able to contribute skills acquired through caring to paid employment. Carers should also be able to acquire other skills to help them into employment and recognise that there needs to be flexibility around delivery of skills programmes to support carers. The Scottish Government and COSLA published a Carers and Young Carers Strategy in July that places a particular focus on the skills, employability and employment needs of carers.

Adult literacy and numeracyImproving levels of adult literacy and numeracy is crucial to securing a competitive economy, promoting education and lifelong learning, and tackling ill-health and improving well-being. In a time of rapid change the demands on individual literacy and numeracy skills are likely to increase. We have developed an Adult Literacy and Numeracy ( ALN) Curriculum Framework, a new professional qualification to up-skill the workforce and drive up quality, as well as developing a range of resources to help improve provision.

The Big Plus, Scotland's national campaign, has successfully raised awareness of ALN issues, challenged the stigma, encouraged adults to get help and recruited new learners. Working with SDS, the Scottish Union Learning Fund and Learning and Teaching Scotland, greater encouragement will be given to employers to recognise the value and benefits of offering literacies learning to their staff, ensuring literacies becomes part of the wider workplace learning agenda. In August 2010 a national survey of literacy and numeracy levels of the adult population in Scotland was published. The survey findings and other sources will be used to update Scottish Government policy on adult literacy and numeracy in Scotland, working with providers and other stakeholders across the college, community learning and development and third sectors.

Community Learning and DevelopmentCommunity Learning and Development ( CLD) is a crucial vehicle for engaging with young people and adults, particularly those who have been disadvantaged and excluded. CLD responds to local needs and opportunities and is shaped and delivered by local authorities and their community planning partners. Arrangements for policy and practice development at national level will be renewed, supporting the establishment of the CLD Standards Council and investing in the skills of the workforce. Local partnerships will also be supported to develop local solutions to national challenges and to establish sustainable programmes for workforce development. Arrangements for supporting policy and practice in CLD will be strengthened by bringing together policy responsibilities in a more coherent way and establishing a new section within Learning and Teaching Scotland to drive policy implementation and support practice development.

Offender learningThe independent report Offender Learning: Options for improvement, published in January 2010, indentified a number of key challenges for Government and public agencies and set out recommendations on how learning opportunities for offenders could be improved. A response to these recommendations was published in July 2010. This outlines a new approach to delivering effective and integrated opportunities for young people and adults in or leaving the justice system to learn, develop skills and increase their employability.

Support for career development, learning and other skills programmes

Career information advice and guidancePlacing individual career development at the heart of balancing skills supply and demand is a step forward in realigning the skills, learning and work system in Scotland. High quality information, advice and guidance ( IAG) is vital for connecting all individuals with the workplace: and enabling them to progress in their career through on-going decisions in learning and work. The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring career services are available for all but that intensive services are targeted towards those who need it most.

Scotland's CollegesScotland's colleges have played a pivotal role in providing a constructive alternative to unemployment during the recession. The response of colleges has been rapid, creative and effective. Investment in colleges will continue in recognition of their central role in the development of intermediate and higher level skills across a diverse range of programmes, crucial to both economic recovery and realising the long-term economic aspiration of increased sustainable economic growth. With 4,100 additional places in 2010-11 Scotland's colleges are well positioned to respond positively to the high demand for places, particularly from young people, and ensure flexibility and consistency of provision with local labour market needs.

Graduate skillsInvestment in universities helps enhance our skills base. Scotland cannot expect to be an internationally competitive economy if we are not on a par with the skills levels attained by other developed countries. Our economic competitiveness will largely depend on the capacity to succeed at the high value-added end of the economy, based on innovative and high skill industries.

Learning to Work TwoIncreasingly colleges and universities are working with employers in the private and the public sectors, to ensure course provision closely matches employers' expectations. This is reflected in work being led by the SFC, under its 2009 employability strategy, Learning to Work Two. The strategy focuses on three specific priority issues: access to work-related learning and work placements; enterprise education and entrepreneurship; and workforce development. The SFC will work with colleges and universities to take the new strategy forward.

Individual Learning AccountsIndividual Learning Accounts ( ILAs) are a key demand-focused source of funding for workforce development and lifelong learning. They make a significant contribution to delivering ambitions on individual development - placing the individual at the centre of learning and skills development and supporting individuals to increase control and choice over their skills and learning development. In 2009-10 over 53,000 courses were attended by around 44,500 people on low incomes using ILA200 funding - an increase of some 39% on the previous year. ILA policy will continue to be developed to ensure that it meets the needs of learners in Scotland.

The UKCES recommended the expansion of the ILA programme in Scotland to include a new system of full Personal Learning Accounts. Further work will be undertaken with SDS to consider this option.

Union learning opportunitiesUnion learning plays a vital role in reaching individuals in the workplace. Through a network of Union Learning Representatives, unions are providing workers with the opportunity to learn at a time and place to suit their needs, bringing them professional and personal benefits, improving productivity and contributing to economic success. Scottish Union Learning provides a strategic direction for union-led learning in Scotland. It enhances the capacity of unions to identify and drive demand for learning by their members and enables union members to access the appropriate courses. The Scottish Government will work closely with and support the Scottish Trades Union Congress and Scottish Union Learning as they continue to develop the Fund as an effective vehicle for delivering learning opportunities and in encouraging workplace cultures that enable people to develop and use their skills effectively.

VolunteeringWorking in partnership with Volunteer Development Scotland ( VDS), the offer in Scotland for those wishing to take up volunteering opportunities as a means of increasing their skills and chances of employability will be augmented. Volunteering can play a key role in improving skills and employability and it should result in progress towards a recognised qualification or standard wherever possible. The Scottish Government awarded £141,000 to VDS to develop a mechanism for the accreditation of learning within a volunteering environment. This focuses initially on Scottish Qualifications Authority employability modules but it is hoped could be applied to any accredited learning linked to the SCQF. This aims to support volunteers - particularly those who are unemployed or who have low levels of skills - in securing progress towards a qualification.

Commonwealth Games legacyThe partnership between Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government was crucial in helping to secure the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014. It is clear that there must be a lasting legacy emanating from hosting the Games and a comprehensive legacy plan has been developed to commit the Scottish Government and partners to a range of activities between now and 2014 to make these aspirations a reality. Together we are committed to creating an increase in the skills and employment chances of unemployed people through the opportunities arising from the Games and to ensure that the volunteering opportunities provided contribute to a real improvement in skills levels and progress on the employability pathway.

There will be a range of lessons to be drawn from the experience of London in hosting the Olympic Games in 2012 and these lessons will influence the employability and skills work in the run up to and including 2014. Funding will be provided to Glasgow East Regeneration Agency to evaluate the outcomes of pilots of Personal Best, the 2012 Olympic volunteering programme. This is being tested in Glasgow this year to ensure that lessons can be incorporated into the planning and delivery of similar programmes supporting the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

English for speakers of other languagesThe Adult English for Speakers of Other Languages ( ESOL) strategy for Scotland aims to increase the quantity and improve the quality of ESOL provision across the country to the benefit of all those in Scotland for whom English is not a first language. With additional funding from 2007, over 32,000 new learners have been helped in colleges and in community learning and development provision by local authorities and third sector organisations. The implementation of this strategy will continue. This will include: further development of an ESOL curriculum framework for practitioners; more progress on professional development, including additional teaching qualifications and the launch and development of initial screening and assessment tools for learners to understand their abilities and to ensure they receive relevant provision. Where appropriate such provision should be credited within the SCQF. Effective partnership working must continue, with the progression of learners at its heart.

International graduates and migrant talentIf we are to achieve our population target and create a more successful country where talented people live, learn and work, investment in skills at home must be accompanied with appropriate recognition of the benefits that skills from overseas can bring. Since 2004 the Fresh Talent initiative has focused on attracting skilled people to live and work in Scotland, increasing the pool of talent available to employers, addressing key skills shortages and supporting economic growth. There were estimated 7 to be around 16,400 skill shortage vacancies in Scotland at the time of the survey. Around half of all these vacancies were considered hard-to-fill by employers and just under half of all hard-to-fill vacancies were skill shortages. International graduates and migrant talent can raise skills levels, increase diversity and innovation, and help to fill the skills gaps and shortages that constrain economic growth. Alongside efforts to develop skills at home, it is clear that Scotland must continue to attract talent from abroad.

Public sector recruitmentThe public sector in Scotland will be subject to a prolonged period of constraint from 2011 but will continue to have a key role in providing opportunities for unemployed people to train, gain experience and work. A programme of engagement between the Scottish Government, COSLA, and HR Directors across the public sector will help to identify opportunities for the sector to support unemployed people. A Local Employment Partnership ( LEP) agreement commits the Scottish Government to work with Jobcentre Plus and SDS to help priority customers, including 16 and 17 year olds, to secure development opportunities and employment within the Scottish Government.

Community Benefit ClausesThe Scottish Government and local government have played a leading role in developing new ways to deliver added social benefits through procurement. In February 2008 guidelines were published on the use of Community Benefit Clauses in public procurement. Typically these clauses require contractors to deliver targeted training and employment opportunities. The approach continues to be disseminated across the wider public sector, including local government and the NHS, and has been embedded in a range of projects including the Commonwealth Games contracts, the new Southern General Hospital project, Scottish Government contracts for the Energy Assistance Programme ( EAP) and construction of the Scottish Crime Campus in North Lanarkshire. Through the National Delivery Group and sponsorship events the Scottish Government will continue to highlight how local areas can maximise their investment in skills through the procurement process. The Scottish Government will support local government, the NHS and public sector organisations when procuring services to use processes to help with staff planning and increase entry-level job opportunities.

Role of librariesThe services provided by local public, academic, college and national libraries have a crucial role in learning and development in Scotland. Libraries are ideally placed to up-skill those furthest from the labour market and play a major role in building vibrant communities. They also help sustain the entire lifelong learning sector by providing underpinning support and activities for both formal and informal learning, teachers, facilitators and learners alike. The role that libraries and information services play in skills and cultural development across Scotland will continue to be supported.