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Skills for Scotland - What does the skills strategy say about skills utilisation?

In October 2010 the Scottish Government refreshed its lifelong skills strategy, Skills for Scotland: Accelerating the Recovery and Increasing Sustainable Economic Growth. The policy work builds upon the previous strategy published in 2007 and offers the skills response to the challenges posed by the global recession.

"This refreshed skills strategy has a renewed focus around the skills required to accelerate economic recovery and to sustain a growing, successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish. It has a clear focus on providing the opportunities for skills to be developed and for these skills to be used effectively.

"Realising our economic aspirations, including improved productivity and growth, depends in part on having more confident, motivated and relevantly skilled individuals, aware of the skills they possess and how to best use them, engaged in workplaces that provide meaningful and appropriate encouragement, opportunity and support to develop and use their skills effectively.

"By focusing on the workplace, workforce skills development can be placed in its proper context, a context that brings together a number of key inter-related issues:

• raising the ambitions of firms;

• identifying the skills required to support business needs and investing in them as an integral element of a wider business development planning;

• developing ambitious, progressive and innovative leadership and management;

• encouraging employee engagement;

• encouraging workplace cultures that enable people to develop and best use their skills; and

• providing high quality, easily accessible information, advice and guidance to employers.

"In the modern global economy it is vital that businesses can retain and attract workers with the skills needed to compete both at home and abroad, developing new supply chains and taking advantage of the latest research and development and new technologies to boost innovation. The ambition for a highly and relevantly skilled workforce is clear but to increase productivity the improvements in the supply of skills must be matched with the right conditions for these skills to be absorbed and used effectively by employers."