Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board


The Strategic Board was created in November 2017 in response to the Enterprise and Skills Review. Its objective is to align and co-ordinate the activities of Scotland's enterprise and skills agencies: Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council.

The Strategic Board seeks to maximise the impact of the collective investment that Scotland makes in enterprise and skills development, and to create the conditions that are conducive to delivering inclusive and sustainable growth.

The aims of the Strategic Board are as follows:

  • improve the overall performance of the economy by ensuring that the whole Enterprise and Skills System delivers Scotland's Economic Strategy and supporting strategies, in all parts of Scotland
  • through collective responsibility ensure hard alignment between agencies to drive improvement in Scottish productivity and better support business and users of the skills system
  • hold agencies to account for performance against agreed measures
  • to actively engage with other agencies and bodies who support the economy with a view to increasing alignment and challenging others where collaboration is not happening
  • to deliver wider collective leadership, based on common culture and values, and which inspires and empowers delivery

The Strategic Board meets every two months.

In October 2018 the Board published its  Strategic Plan  outlining a series of actions for Scotland’s enterprise and skills agencies and a blueprint to the government, aimed at driving productivity and inclusive growth. 14 agency actions and 18 recommendations for Government are outlined around four interconnected missions: Skills for the Future; Business Models and Workplace Innovation; Business Creation and Growth and Exports. 

The Board has considered how programmes and activities around these missions can be delivered more cohesively to make Scottish companies more resilient in the face of a changing global landscape; how they can scale up, grow and globalise and prepare for future opportunities such as automation and digitalisation and challenges such as climate change.

It also encourages a shift to a more demand-led skills system that better responds to the current and future skills needs of employers and individuals, including expanding work-based learning, and increasingly supports individuals to upskill and reskill.

Recently, the Strategic Board has pivoted its focus to help support the more immediate challenges the Scottish economy faces post COVID­19 and how the enterprise and skills agencies can support the recovery.

In May 2020, the Deputy First Minister asked the Board to from a short-life working group to focus on the practical actions which can be taken forward immediately to mitigate the labour market impacts of the crisis. A sub-group was swiftly formed and, working closely  with the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery has put forward a range of ideas for how best to accelerate the recovery. At the end of June 2020, the sub-group submitted a report to ministers that’s sets out a series of recommendations for action by government and its agencies and delivery partners. A key part will be to ensure the enterprise and skills system works together with business in delivering a truly integrated package of support considering the challenges the Scottish economy faces.

The Scottish Government published its response to the report on 5 August, endorsing the recommendations. The priority now is to focus on the implementation of actions and the practicalities of introducing the changes required to support Scotland’s economic recovery. The sub-group has therefore decided to stand down and the Strategic Board’s efforts will focus on supporting the Scottish Government and the enterprise and skills agencies with the delivery of these.

A range of Industry Leadership Groups (ILGs) have been established over time, with different governance, structures, and funding but intended to deliver a common set of aims. The review undertaken by the Strategic Board was initiated to understand the activities of each ILG, their key outputs and how they can increase their impact.


  • Nora Senior, former Chair, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, and former President, UK Chambers of Commerce (Chair)
  • Scott McLarty, Spirit AeroSystems (Vice Chair)
  • Liz Cameron, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
  • Mike Cantlay, Scottish Funding Council
  • Sara Carter, University of Glasgow
  • Alistair Dodds, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
  • Audrey Cumberford, Edinburgh College
  • Russel Griggs, South of Scotland Economic Partnership
  • Steven Heddle, COSLA
  • Frank Mitchell, Skills Development Scotland
  • Grahame Smith, STUC
  • Lord Smith of Kelvin, Scottish Enterprise
  • Melinda Matthews-Clarkson, CodeClan
  • Gillian Murray, Heriot-Watt University
  • Simon Cotton, Johnstons of Elgin 
  • Alison Milne, Crafty Maltsters Ltd
  • Caroline Barelle, Elasmogen