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Skills Utilisation Leadership Group Progress

The Skills Utilisation Leadership Group met in October 2010 to discuss, among other things, its progress to date. The Group considered that the meeting marked, in the words of one member, the "end of the beginning". Members felt they have moved the effective skills use agenda forward over the past two years and were going in the right direction. However, they also recognised that they are dealing with a difficult and challenging, long-term issue and there remains much for members individually and the Group collectively to do. This report summaries what the Group is achieving.

The Skills Utilisation Leadership Group was established in September 2008 to champion effective skills use in the workplace. It brings together leaders from government, business, trade unions, the third sector and key public agencies. Representatives from Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise joined the Group in September 2009. The Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning and Professor Ewart Keep joined the Group in April 2010. The Group has met on seven occasions (including its meeting in October 2010).

The Group's remit is to:

  • help raise awareness of how the best use of skills in the workplace can have wide ranging benefits for employers (private, public and voluntary), employees and the Scottish economy;
  • contribute to the development of a programme of research, including where appropriate member organisations commissioning and co-ordinating research; and
  • make recommendations to government, public bodies, employers and unions for further action, including where appropriate member organisations pursuing identified actions.
  • In addition, the role of individual members is to champion the skills utilisation agenda in their own organisations and beyond.

The Group is giving clarity of purpose and of responsibilities

The Group has:

  • developed a vision statement (November 2008).
  • adopted an employer engagement strategy and communications action plan, which includes a policy framework for skills in the workplace, a definition of 'effective skills use' (which is outlined in the refreshed skills strategy[1]) and identifies responsibilities of key partners (June 2009).
  • developed a 'core script' for its members (January 2009).
  • informed the development of government policy. The refreshed skills strategy includes a vision of a Scotland where "high skill, high productivity, healthy workplaces enable people to perform at their best". Effective skills use and its key enablers - leadership, management and employee engagement feature prominently in it (October 2010).

The Group is building an evidence base to inform policy development and delivery

Under its strategic direction:

  • a scoping study and literature review were published (December 2008).
  • case study research highlighting how firms in key sectors encourage effective skills use was published (January 2009).
  • the Scottish Government is seeking to develop a skills utilisation measurement framework, having identified available data and data gaps and explored the feasibility of a skills utilisation index.
  • the Scottish Government has worked closely with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills on a series of reports about high performance working (final report published May 2010).

The Group is helping raise awareness, knowledge and understanding of effective skills use in the workplace

Under its strategic direction:

  • the Scottish Government has developed a web portal[2] which provides advice on better skills use and links to relevant web resources (August 2009). The site will shortly be revamped when ownership of it transfers to Skills Development Scotland.
  • separate contextualised guides to effective skills use are being produced for employers in the private, public and third sectors, in partnership with key agencies including business representative organisations, COSLA and the Third Sector Skills Partnership (spring 2011). The STUC is producing a guide to effective skills use for employees (spring 2011).
  • workshops involving the testimonies of exemplar organisations are being organised by partners of the cross-sectoral network to showcase effective workplace practice in encouraging effective skills use (winter 2010/11 - spring 2011).
  • the Scottish Government sponsored a Best Use of Skills award at the Institute of Directors' Annual Awards Ceremony (March 2010). The Scottish Government is continuing to sponsor an award (March 2011).
  • the then Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning wrote to public bodies to encourage them to consider how well the skills of their workforce are being used and to invite them to take action, where appropriate, to encourage and support their better use (September 2009). The chief executive of NHS Education for Scotland wrote to NHS bodies in similar terms.
  • the Scottish Government has issued six e-bulletins to stakeholder organisations.

The Group has reported regularly to the National Economic Forum (NEF) and its work has been informed by NEF discussions. There were seven sectorally-based workshops on effective skills use at the October 2008 NEF, each of which was facilitated by a member of the Leadership Group. There were discussions on 'reaping the rewards of skills investment' at the March 2009 NEF. The leadership and management workshop discussion in December 2009 NEF directly fed in to the review of leadership and management. At the same NEF, Grahame Smith spoke about effective skills use in his speech on productivity.

Individual members of the Group have given presentations at various forums on encouraging more effective skills use.

The Group is helping to support organisations to develop a culture of enabling people to perform at their best

Under its strategic direction:

  • Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Skills Development Scotland are embedding support for effective skills use across their products and services. (A summary of the contribution each agency is making to encouraging effective skills use is at Appendix 1).
  • the Scottish Government has undertaken a review of leadership and management (September 2009 - April 2010). Scottish Enterprise, working with other key agencies, is building on this work and developing a framework for action to help better align the activities of key public agencies and to act as a catalyst for wider action. Key actions include:

o developing more collaborative approaches between academia, public sector agencies and business to address leadership development in Scotland. A meeting with Ministers, business representative organisations and universities took place on 5 October to consider this;

o facilitating organisations (particularly SMEs) to come together to learn from each other and support each other to, among other things, develop leadership and management capability; and

o improving the accessibility of information, advice and guidance, including through the development of case studies.

  • Investors in People Scotland is developing a self-assessment/measurement tool for organisations (spring 2011). Its purpose is to help them:

o understand how well the skills of their workforce are being used;

o identify their particular strengths and weaknesses;

o consider where best to focus actions to improve skills use; and

o quantify and monitor progress on effective skills use, including on its impact on organisational performance and productivity, job satisfaction and employee well-being.

The Group is improving the capacity of intermediary organisations that influence employers to encourage better skills use

The Group has:

  • developed core messages as part of its communications plan.
  • established a cross-sectoral network that brings together a wide range of intermediary organisations with a common interest in encouraging organisations to make better use of skills. The network has, among other things, developed a guide for its partners to help them to communicate consistent messages about effective skills use.

The Group is enhancing the contribution of Scotland's colleges and universities in support effective skills use in the workplace

Under its strategic direction:

  • The Scottish Funding Council is funding twelve action research projects exploring different ways how to enhance the contribution that colleges and universities can make to effective skills use in the workplace (funding announced June 2009, work ongoing) - see Appendix 2.
  • The Council published its revised employability framework, Learning to Work Two (December 2009). Appendix 3 outlines the framework's key areas of work.

Skills Utilisation Leadership Group Secretariat
October 2010



Scottish Enterprise (SE)

What Scottish Enterprise Has Done

a) Research and evidence base

  • Scottish Government's comprehensive research programme explored the evidence base and linkages between leadership, business performance, skills utilisation and productivity;
  • The mapping exercise by SE provided a clear overview of the range and scale of current delivery of leadership development activities across academia, the Enterprise Networks, SDS and others;
  • SE undertook a series of stakeholder interviews with Global Scots to assess their perception of the leadership issues for Scotland and to identify key activities and support to enhance leadership capacity;
  • SE has undertaken the Skills Utilisation Best Strategies research and the publication of the evidence on key practices within 12 companies including sectoral case studies.

b) Policy

  • The leadership development policy is in place (2009). A Leadership Development Action Plan has been approved by SE and was endorsed by the SE Board (Spring 2010).
  • On behalf of the government, SE is seeking to develop a leadership vision for Scotland and is consulting with partners to agree a shared vision.
  • A Framework for Action on Leadership Development is being produced and will be discussed at the Strategic Forum (November 2010).

c) Products

  • SE has launched a new product Managing People for Growth which will be available to a wider range of businesses. This product provides a series of practical workshops and aims to support the development of effective people management practices to enable business growth and productivity. (Autumn 2010);
  • Investors in People is a business improvement framework that can improve financial performance, profitability, productivity and increase employee involvement. Scottish enterprise can help support account managed companies aiming to achieve the IIP standard.
  • As part of its ongoing review of our products SE will ensure that key messages on the effective use of skills are highlighted appropriately in product guides.

d) Communications

  • Work is underway with our communications team to integrate key messages on skills utilisation in communications activities and channels, e.g. speeches for our chief executive and chairman, press releases and corporate communications.
  • The SE New Today internal communications channel is used to keep staff appraised of new developments and activities that SE and other partners are undertaking that support leadership development and better skills use.

e) Service Delivery

  • The Business Mentoring service, a partnership between SE and Scottish Chamber of Commerce, supports business leaders and senior managers of social economy organisations to develop their knowledge and expertise in core business areas and to address business issues and opportunities. Individuals are matched with experienced business people and meet regularly over the course of a year. Mentors work with business leaders on a one-to-one basis and with groups of business leaders.
  • John Stewart, a Global Scot with an exemplary track record in financial services, hosted a master class for businesses on the themes of Leadership and Skills Utilisation in Edinburgh in August. SE will produce a podcast of John Stewart; capturing key messages about these themes and create new webcasts to be promoted on SE.com. (Autumn 2010)
  • Leadership Development has been the focus of SE's Strengthen your Business online marketing campaign to customers since March 2010. A downloadable leadership guide and webcast featuring key companies were created to highlight the importance of leadership development to drive company growth and to maximise the potential and productivity of the workforce. The campaign highlights the key services that SE provides to companies. (Ongoing).
  • The SE Enquiry Service is briefed on SE's Leadership, Organisational and People Development products and activities; assisting customers to access information, guidance and services.
  • SMAS specializes in providing manufacturing firms of all sizes throughout Scotland with expert advice, training and events helping them improve the efficiency of existing processes, create new processes or review their business model to reduce costs and increase profitability.

What Scottish Enterprise Plan to Do

a) Research

  • Evidence suggests that there is significantly more investment in management development as opposed to leadership development. Scottish Enterprise is discussing with Scottish Government whether there is a need to commission a study to determine the scale of the leadership skills shortage and to bench mark with similar countries and growth economies in order to identify opportunities to improve Scotland's competitive position.
  • The development of SE's industry-led strategies will help to provide an informed assessment of the demand for leadership development and better skills use in each of the key sectors and help SE sector teams to support the needs of their sectors.

b) On-line resources

  • Scottish-Enterprise.com will be re-launched providing a refreshed format that will offer more customised and targeted content; providing information, guidance and on-line tools for companies on Leadership Development and Better Skills Use to improve business performance. (Autumn 2010)
  • BGateway.com provides information and guidance on developing skills and improving skills use and leadership development for start-ups and SMEs.

c) Products

  • An Organisational Development Review product is being procured that will help companies assess their skills and organisational development needs. The review can be applied at all levels of the company from senior management to operative level to support a company's growth objectives and results in the development of a strategic training plan for the company. (Spring 2011)

d) Measurement Framework

  • SE has shared its approach to measuring skills use with colleagues in SG and will continue to input on the measurement framework.

e) Continuous professional development (CPD)

  • The newly developed CPD framework for Account Managers and Organisational Development staff includes training and information that will build colleagues understanding of the importance of leadership development and skills utilisation and help colleagues to guide companies to services and activities that can improve their knowledge and practices.

f) Capacity Building

  • SE has agreed to provide the secretariat support for the Skills Utilisation Network.
  • SE will collaborate with partners to encourage the members of the cross sectoral network to undertake workshops on skills utilisation for their business networks and members.

g) National Advisory and Advocacy Group and the Health Works Strategy

Scottish Enterprise is a member of the government's National Advisory and Advocacy Group; helping to embed the new Health Works strategy by cascading key messages about the benefits of the Health Working Lives Service to businesses through our communications activities, channels and websites.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE)

HIE is currently evaluating its High Level Leadership project which will inform future projects at this level.

HIE continues to promote and deliver a range of courses delivered in partnership with MIT. These include a course on leadership and building teams.

HIE, through the Relocation Advisory Service, continues to give advice and guidance to employers in relation to international employees

In partnership with UHI and ERDF, HIE has been encouraging better links between business and academia through the UHI Hi-Links project.

Shorter Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTPs) are being promoted by HIE as a short, tactical response to the need for innovation in business which requires academic support lasting 10 - 40 weeks with an associate working in the business and enabling an exchange of skills and knowledge.

Ongoing work with SMAS to provide support to manufacturing businesses on a range of business development issues, including skills utilisation.

Investors in People, HIE continues to support the promotion of IIP in particular through a Highlands and Islands based client services manager.

The Talent Scotland Graduate placement programme enables organisations to address innovation through the subsidised employment of a graduate working on a project which will allow the business to make a step-change. The programme is enhanced by a 5 day residential course focussing on employability and innovation.

HIE's customised leadership development programme, ACHIEVE, was introduced in 2005. Since then over 90 managers have been through the programme which has been refined and adapted over the years. In 2009 HIE launched its Emerging Leaders Programme and put over 20 high-potential staff through a rigorous assessment and development programme. HIE also supports in-house coaching and mentoring programmes which aim to foster leadership, personal and professional development. Many of HIE's ACHIEVE leadership programme graduates are used as in-house coaches and have been trained as mentors to support those participating on the Emerging Leaders Programme.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS)

SDS is committed to ensuring that skills are optimised in the workplace. Skills utilisation is identified explicitly as a mechanism to achieve this within the SDS Corporate Plan - Putting Strengths to Work[3]. This approach is not a quick fix. It takes time and understanding to embed both as a concept and in practice. SDS has made progress in the past six months - from awareness raising internally and externally to embedding support for skills us in products and services. A breakdown of SDS activity is below.

Increase Awareness

  • The SDS Employer Offer Programme Board has merged the pre-existing working title products of Gateways, Skills for Growth and Scottish Employer Service into Service to Employers. This has enabled common messages to be developed about identifying the strengths of individuals and of teams, which in turn supports the skills use ethos to employees, employers and the future workforce.
  • The SDS Service Design team is embedding skills utilisation in the development of web-based products and services provided to both individuals through My Learning Space (working title) and services to businesses. SDS will assume ownership of the 'better skills use' website from the Scottish Government and revamp its content and presentation. SDS will work with business representative organisations to rework the Scottish Government draft employer guide to effective skills use so that it is presented in language and format that engages the business community. The revamped website and employer guide are expected to launch in March 2011.

Help Organisations Implement Workplace Change

  • SDS is supporting and resourcing the 'Best Workplaces' initiative by the Great Place to Work Institute. The initiative gives a Scotland focus to an existing UK-wide project whose underpinning philosophy is that an organisation is only as good as its employees. The Institute has tangible evidence that in a recession this approach has helped participating employers buck the trend on a number of key measures. They are essentially educating businesses on some key aspects relevant to effective skills use.
  • Training providers and businesses are being asked as part of the application to deliver National Training Programmes for additional evidence to support their requests. This is aimed at encouraging the applicants to examine the wider benefits to both the individual and employer, including skills utilisation. This will now continue as standard practice. Businesses are similarly being encouraged through the application process to consider skills use issues when seeking for funding through the Flexible Training Fund announced in June.
  • SDS agreed to actively consider for each contract it tenders over a six month period whether conditions to encourage effective skills utilisation could in principle be directly related, including whether it would have been appropriate to ask tenderers to explain how they measure the effectiveness of their leadership and management practice. This has made limited progress. Benefits of this approach have not been measured.

Better Support to Key Delivery Agencies and Stakeholders

  • SDS is developing a new working relationship with Scottish Enterprise and their account managed companies to ensure that the companies are supported seamlessly. This approach encourages them to consider skills issues in a wider context, including leadership and management development, vocational training opportunities and how existing skills can be effectively used.
  • The GES Industry Managers are actively involved in the skills utilisation pilots where they occur in their sectors and will remain part of the projects if they mature from pilot phase. The Life Sciences pilot has taken this one step further with SDS Skills Investment Advisers working with companies to understand their current and future needs in partnership with Dundee College.
  • SDS has worked in partnership with SCQF to support companies, mainly in GES key sectors, in mapping their in-house systems and processes against the SCQF Framework. This fits well with the skills utilisation approach as it ensures employees' abilities are fully understood and recognised.
  • SDS is developing a closer working relationship with Scotland Development International on inward investment to ensure individuals and employers benefit from using the right skills in the right positions.

Skills Utilisation Leadership Group Secretariat
October 2010




1. In July 2009 SFC made offers of grant to 12 of the proposals submitted in response to the Council's call for innovative proposals for projects to enhance the sectors' contribution to skills utilisation. These projects are part of an action research programme which responds to the challenge for Scotland highlighted by the Skills Utilisation Leadership Group. The refreshed Skills for Scotland skills strategy notes that making more effective use of skills is key to leading Scotland back to a higher level of productivity and sustainable growth. [4]

2. This paper reports on the progress of these projects, including what they hope to achieve and by when, and the emerging messages for the sector and for employers and the public bodies that work with them.

3. Four of the projects reported in detail to the Skills Committee at their August 2010 meeting. The report is available at: http://www.sfc.ac.uk/web/FILES/CMP_SkillsCommittee26August2010_26082010/SC_10_25_Skills_Utilisation_-_Programme_of_Projects_Progress_Report.pdf
The reports should be read alongside this short summary report as they provide real insights and understanding of the process and learning emerging from each. Of those four, two of the projects have now completed and are in the process of preparing case studies for wider dissemination.

The projects

4. These 12 projects are working in a variety of sectors and geographical areas. They are working with a wide range of businesses and stakeholder groups. Each proposal has a unique focus and will complete at different times, although there are similarities in process and approach. Each of the projects is outlined briefly in the annex with a short summary of progress. The projects are listed according to the timeframe within which they are due to complete.

Messages for the sector and for employers

5. The relationship of the project staff with employers and other partners is crucial to implementing change in the workplace. Despite initial resistance from some employers to participate, most projects are reporting a willingness from employers once they are on board. They are working closely with college and university staff and see the benefits to the organisation of making changes and doing things differently. Project staff have had to look at how they build and maintain these relationships with employers and other key stakeholders.

6. Context and cultural issues are crucial in how the activity is taken forward, both at a company level and an industry level. This means that the intervention or the approach taken needs to be tailored to meet identified needs and should address the challenges creatively. In many of the projects the presenting issue became the trigger for more detailed involvement and change. However, there are clearly differences in the level of understanding and awareness around skills utilisation.

Sharing lessons learned and early outcomes

7. Overall we are impressed by the commitment of the institutions to learn from their activities with employers and to share the outcomes and lessons learnt more widely. They have been active in capturing the issues emerging from the pilot activities and also looking for synergies across the projects. They are now looking at how they continue this work beyond the funding of the projects.

8. To be able to demonstrate the value of the projects and their potential to address the better use of skills in the workplace we need to understand what does and does not work. We also need to build enough knowledge and expertise to allow replication. All projects are committed to hosting dissemination events which will be open to external participants and also to producing case study material for wider use. The projects will also participate in national conferences and events including cross-sectoral group and sectoral or geographic networks.

9. At their meeting in December 2010, the Skills Committee will dedicate their workshop activity to looking at the early learning and outcomes from the programme and the implications for colleges, universities, employers, industry sectors and their contribution to making better use of skills in Scotland's workforce in future.

Further information

10. Contact: Linda McLeod, Assistant Director, Strategic Development, SFC (direct line: 0131 313 6694, email: lmcleod@sfc.ac.uk).

Scottish Funding Council
October 2010

Projects funded under the SFC skills utilisation programme

Lead institution and partners

Project title, focus and trigger


Skills utilisation outcomes

Final reporting date

Stevenson College/
Creative Industries and Tourism
Adam Smith College, Alliance of Sector Skills, Sector Skills Agencies People 1st and Skills Set

Working with Attitude (WWA) Toolkit:development of a diagnostic toolkit to assess employees' core/vocational skills; use data to engage with employers on skills development/utilisation improvements.

Industry identified need to improve the translation of workplace skills into workplace performance, to build the confidence of employees to encourage them to utilise their skills more effectively, and to improve the impact of training spend with improvements in turnover, productivity, workforce performance, quality enhancement and customer retention.

Completed September 2010

  • Develop paper-based and online WWA toolkit to enable employees to benchmark vocational skills against National Occupation Standards,
  • Engagement, assessment and feedback activity with employees/supervisors
  • Prepare individual skills profiles and development plans with interventions
  • Assist employers to assess existing employee skills (core and vocational linked to National Occupational standards) and if these are fit for the job.
  • Assess whether skills are being appropriately used.
  • Measure sectoral data and identifying best practice
  • Use sectoral training data for future curricular development to ensure demand led training provision.

Nov 2010

West Lothian College/
Manufacturing sector
Anniesland College, Adam Smith College, Strathclyde University
SEMTA, Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service

Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) for manufacturing companies and colleges:embed a culture of business improvement in organisations and increase knowledge transfer between colleges/universities and industry.

Trigger: Lack of suitable training in Business Improvement Techniques (BIT) in Scotland due to shortage of suitably qualified trainers, limited knowledge and understanding of BIT and limited financial resources to support implementation within larger organisations and SMEs.

Completed September 2010

  • Deliver SVQs at level 2/3 using BIT VQ programme for upskilling operators and supervisors in industry, and the 6 Sigma Green Belt for college staff and industry managers.
  • Skills analysis.
  • Leadership and management training for team leaders & supervisors, to better equip them for the cultural change required for the BIT programme.
  • Embed a culture of business improvement in 15 commercial companies and each of the colleges
  • Improve provision for people in work to develop and utilise their skills by developing individual and employer responsibility to improve performance.
  • Provide knowledge transfer between the colleges, university and industry.

Nov 2010

Edinburgh 's Telford College/
Previous students and their employers

Skills Utilisation and College Graduates:research project to determine gaps in college course provision that impact on graduates' career progression.

Trigger: Perception by employers that college graduates, once in employment, struggle with career progression due to a lack of leadership and management skills that can be utilised in SME/self-employment roles.

  • Research previous college graduates from full time vocational programmes 2002-07 and their employers to better understand how skills learned are being utilised in current employment and what skills are not being used.
  • Identify further skills requirements to support career advancement and diversification in career.
  • Relevance of college course content to graduates' skills utilisation in the current marketplace.
  • Identification of graduate skills requirements to progress in leadership and management roles in SMEs or self-employment.

Aug 2011

Barony College/
Aquaculture Industry/

Inverness College, North Atlantic Fisheries College

Aquaculture Work-based Learning (WBL) Development:a blended work-based learning package for the aquaculture workforce.

Trigger: An under-qualified workforce due to lack of accessible learning and skills development opportunities.

  • Pilot phase to develop WBL system with Aquaculture companies.
  • Lessons learned to be shared and disseminated throughout industry.
  • Access to WBL system to be rolled out to other salmon and trout producing companies.
  • Learning support provided by college tutors and company mentors working together.
  • Improving skills levels of Aquaculture workforce, particularly for those in remote areas.
  • Development of a WBL system to support skills utilisation in salmon and trout producing companies.

Aug 2011

Barony College/
Dairy Farming Industry
Academic partnerships with other land based colleges to be established

Scottish Dairy Skills Academy :develop an industry-owned national certification framework and learning package for the dairy farming industry.

a recognised need to increase the skills levels of the Scottish dairy farming workforce to improve industry efficiency and profitability.

  • Establishment of a National Management Board, drawn from industry representative groups, to govern the development and implementation of the certification framework.
  • Develop learning materials.
  • Pilot priority units and industry review of outcomes
  • Launch national programme.
  • Improve skills levels of the workforce to ensure existing workforce is able to deliver business efficiencies & new entrants are industry ready,
  • Development of an industry-owned national certification framework
  • Development of higher level supervisory and management skills.

Nov 2011

Dundee College/
Life Science Industry
Forth Valley College, Adam Smith College, University of Dundee

Skills for the Life Science Industry:establishment of a sustainable recruitment and training and development approach for the Life Science industry, based on a renegotiated relationship between life science companies, colleges and universities and other stakeholders

Identified need by industry to address major recruitment and skills shortage problem (five times greater than other sectors), which is significantly constraining company/industry growth.

  • Engage with life science clusters to raise organisational awareness of the value of sector-relevant and focussed staff development.
  • Work with HR functions of life science companies to identify and implement solutions on skills needs and more effective skills utilisation of their existing employees.
  • Undertake audit of existing interventions that could meet skills needs.
  • Piloting of training interventions with life science companies.
  • Improving provision for skills development and utilisation.
  • Maximise opportunities to develop people in new roles.
  • Develop technical, business and management skills.
  • Improve leadership and management provision to encourage workplace innovation and engage unused skills and potential in existing qualified staff.
  • knowledge transfer across academic institutions and life science companies.

Nov 2011

Open University in Scotland/
Social Care Sector

Enhancing Skills Utilisation by Social Care Providers: enhanced skills utilisation by social care providers, with a focus on employer engagement in recognising employees' skills/experience.

Trigger: statutory registration requirements introduced for social care supervisors.

  • Delivery of a tailored, HE workplace based management development course
  • Work with employers, support students and consider how new skills developed might be best deployed.
  • Refine the delivery model to make it cost effective for the HE provider.
  • Improve the skills levels of social care workers.
  • Engage employer and employee in how emerging skills can be effectively used in the workplace and the benefits for service delivery.
  • Improve leadership and management capability/ practices in workplaces.

Nov 2011

Robert Gordon University/
Oil and Gas Industry/
Aberdeen College

Maximising the impact of skills in the Oil and Gas Industry:improved understanding of skills utilisation issues in the industry, with a focus on staff motivation to maximise productivity and facilitation of knowledge/ skills transfer across different staff groups.

Trigger: Need to gain a greater understanding of skills utilisation issues in the oil and gas industry, and to work with companies to develop appropriate solutions.

  • Initial research study completed, with literature review on skills utilisation and industry interviews as the evidence base for developing the pilot interventions.
  • Pilot activity with specific companies to trial particular approaches to improve performance and productivity.
  • Improved team leadership skills
  • Knowledge transfer facilitation: including Mentoring/coaching systems
  • Sharing good practice relating to autonomous working aimed at developing a highly motivated, productive workforce.

Nov 2011

Glasgow School of Art/
Generic employers/
Institute of Directors, University of Glasgow

Creating Cultures of Innovation through Creativity and Design:development of a learning and thinking tool for business leaders to create the capability for sustainable innovation.

the need to embed a culture of sustainable innovation through creative thinking and design processes, in order to improve productivity and generate increased value for Scottish businesses.

  • Develop a leading-edge training package for business leaders to increase their understanding and application of creative thinking to encourage innovation, and to enable them to better deploy the existing skills, creativity and talent of their workforce.
  • Develop courses for staff to improve their understanding in design innovation.
  • In collaboration with other partners, develop new Masters courses, pathways and programmes.
  • Focus on leadership and management by increasing leaders' capacity to better utilise the existing skills and creativity of their employees.
  • Encourage employees to apply their skills more effectively and to develop their creative capacity.
  • Encourage the adoption of innovative work practices throughout an organisation.

Aug 2012

Open University in Scotland/
Engineering Sector/
Unite the Union, Rolls Royce, Skills Development Scotland

Recognising & Enhancing Skills Acquired in the Engineering Workplace: From Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) to BEng:a work-based model of study to enable MA employees and others with HN awards, to validate and enhance their skills to BEng level.

a lack of opportunity for shift-workers and remote workers to up-skill to a higher level of qualification post apprenticeship, as part-time attendance at university is difficult for these employees.

  • Enhance the OU BEng programme by developing a physical workplace support model of study for factory based students and a virtual workplace support model for offshore students.
  • Implement the model through a pilot project with Rolls Royce/Unite the Union.
  • Evaluate the learner, union and employer experience to further develop the workplace support model.
  • Scope and report on the potential for workplace based study as a vehicle for enhancing and accrediting skills in the engineering sector more widely.
  • Develop progression routes from MA, HN and workplace training in the engineering sector towards higher level skills.
  • Develop methods for accrediting and recognising higher level skills acquired in the workplace.
  • Gain an increased understanding of the needs of employees participating in workplace based learning and the effectiveness of support from the employer, the union and the university.
  • Provide a forum for discussion between learners, Trade Union and Management on skills development and utilisation in the workplace.

Nov 2012

Dumfries and Galloway College/
SMEs in South of Scotland (with a focus on tourism and hospitality)
Barony College, Borders College, Scottish Agricultural College, Heriot-Watt University, University of Glasgow, University of the West of Scotland

South of Scotland Knowledge Transfer Partnership:access to college/university business development services for SME's in South of Scotland.

The region has a dominance of SME's operating in declining/traditional industries with low skilled workforces. Due to their small size, companies generally lack training and management capacity and are unlikely to engage in activities to improve skills development/utilisation. Due to their geographic isolation, they also lack critical mass to form effective support networks and access to business development/innovation resources and services.

  • Establish two knowledge transfer hubs as single points of access for employers/ employees to obtain the business support services of all project partners (egg workforce development, R&D, innovation and CPD including leadership/management training).
  • Direct engagement with businesses to develop relationships and demand for improved skills utilisation.
  • Business health checks and skills audits to determine business development/ improvement service required.
  • Link knowledge in colleges and universities with skills development and utilisation requirements of business.
  • Improve company capacity to maximise skills of employees through improved business processes, systems and new ways of working
  • Develop leadership and management capacity to encourage business development and innovative ways of working.

Nov 2012

Forth Valley College, Heriot-Watt University/
Science & Engineering Industries
/Adam Smith College, Dundee College

Engineers of the Future - MA2MA: Chemical, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering: development of a vocational degree route from modern apprenticeship to Masters.

identified opportunity to deliver a uniquely tailored academic and training programme to improve the skills levels and skills utilisation in the science and engineering industries.

  • In partnership with industry, develop and deliver an industrial masters degree for apprentices in engineering and chemistry.
  • Joint programme delivery across the three colleges and Heriot-Watt University using a mixed-mode delivery.
  • Pilot programme in partnership with INEOS Grangemouth.
  • Provision of work-ready graduates with practical skills, work experience and academic qualifications.
  • Seamless progression for people in work from vocational to academic qualifications.
  • Work with industry employers on utilisation of skills acquired through the MA2MA programme.

June 2015



Employability Framework

The Scottish Funding Council's revised employability framework and programme of work consists of work in the following key areas:

Work Placement Projects

  • Education into Enterprise This three year project, led by Adam Smith College, will offer accredited work-placement opportunities, mainly with SMEs, micro-businesses and third sector employers and in key sectors of the Scottish economy, to around 850 students enrolled in HE courses which do not currently offer this option at participating institutions.
  • E - Placements Scotland A pan-Scotland project led by Edinburgh Napier University and the E-Skills Sector Skills Council. aims over three years to place 750 students of any discipline at any level of study in participating universities and colleges in paid business and information technology placements in the IT industry ranging from 3 -12 months.
  • Third Sector Internship Project A four year pan-Scotland project led by Queen Margaret University with the Open University and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) aims to develop a national framework for managing and delivering 200-300 paid internships tailored to the needs of third sector employers and full-time, part-time undergraduate and postgraduate students of any discipline at any Scottish university.
  • Embedding Work Placements in Taught Masters Programmes The Universities of Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Stirling aim to deliver over three years around 500 placement opportunities to enable students in selected masters programmes to be assessed on a report on relevant workplace experience instead of the traditional dissertation by research. Placements will be sought in the Scottish Government's key economic sectors and predominantly with SME employers.

Development of employability support: a successor body for Scottish Higher Education Employability network will foster and support national co-ordination and good practice development and facilitate dialogue with student bodies and employer bodies to maximise employability gains for universities and the sector. SFC will also explore the extent of need and wish for a similar network for colleges in due course.

Developing enterprise and entrepreneurship education: SFC provides £600K per year for three years to support the Scottish Institute for Enterprise.

Developing workforce development: A Workforce Development Action Group was established in 2009/2010 by the Joint Skills Committee of the Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland to bring together representatives from key partners to develop a more cohesive, visible and demand-led system. Through the implementation of the framework for action developed by the Action Group, government and its agencies will improve the accessibility, responsiveness and effective design of learning and business development services for employers and employees.

Funding training. SFC agreed to fund a training programme for student participants in the Talent Scotland internship programme designed and delivered by Robert Gordon University and Strathclyde

Scottish Funding Council
October 2010

[1] Skills for Scotland: Accelerating the Recovery and Increasing Sustainable Economic Growth, Scottish Government, October 2010

[2] www.scotland.gov.uk/skillsuse

[3] http://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/media/43806/sds_corp_plan_v3%20-%2011%202%2010%20final.pdf

[4] Skills for Scotland: Accelerating the Recovery and Increasing Sustainable Economic Growth, Scottish Government, October 2010