Scotland's greatest asset is our people. We want to build a self-confident, outward looking Scotland - an ambitious nation with opportunities for everyone to contribute and benefit and make a positive contribution to Scotland's prosperity. Investing in our people's skills, ensuring that skills contribute as much as possible to sustainable economic growth, is central to unlocking our potential.
A smarter Scotland is at the heart of everything we want to achieve for this country. We can only build a Scotland that is wealthier and fairer, one that is healthier, safer, stronger and greener, if people are equipped with the skills, expertise and knowledge for success. This Strategy sets out what our objectives need to be to develop a cohesive lifelong learning system centred upon the individual but responsive to employer needs.
To achieve our vision we need to work with all of our key partners, delivery agents and employer representatives.
We need successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors to build a smarter Scotland. We need effective early intervention, schools with the highest standards, excellent universities and colleges and quality informal learning and vocational opportunities for all. We need individuals to take more ownership for their own development and a system that identifies people who need extra support and ensures that support is there. We need a system for developing skills that meets everybody's needs and aspirations and equips individuals with skills that are flexible enough to meet the needs of today and respond to the demands of tomorrow.
This Government will provide clarity and simplicity in skills provision in Scotland by bringing focus to the range of public agencies involved in skills and lifelong learning development.
We need both a skilled population and an economy and society that makes full and productive use of these skills. This will be one of our central planks to building a wealthier Scotland and should be seen in the context of our developing new economic approach. We need a Scotland that is truly demanding of our education and training systems. We need employers that demand, value and make best use of the their workforce's skills. We need to improve employability skills for those without jobs.We need to ensure that everyone can see clear and tangible benefits from investing in their own development and that of their workforce, which is why this Strategy must and will connect seamlessly into what we are doing to redefine and improve our business development functions.
This Strategy is a framework for Government to work with our people, our communities, our institutions and our employers in driving this vision forward. It sets out our ambitions, our priorities and our challenges. It highlights what Government can do and what you can do.
Above all, this Strategy is a call to action which is intended to challenge us all on what we have to do.
The next stage of this process is to develop how we will deliver this Strategy in conjunction with stakeholders, employers and individuals in Scotland:
- 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.
Over the coming months we will be organising events and action built around our key tasks and I encourage all of you to engage as fully with us as possible.
We have tremendous potential in our people. By working together, I want to see us seize this opportunity to foster a smarter Scotland that benefits us all.
FIONA HYSLOP MSP
Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning