Industry Advisory Group for rUK Talent Attraction minutes: June 2023

Minutes from the meeting of the group held on 22 June 2023.

Attendees and apologies


  • (Chair) Mr Dey, Minister for Higher and Further Education and Minister for Veterans
  • Marion Beattie, SDS
  • Craig Clark, Space Scotland
  • Emma Harcus, Scottish Enterprise
  • Greig Rooney, Valneva
  • Linda Spence, TalentScotland
  • Lloyd Vaughan, Nile
  • Morag Watson, Scottish Renewables

SG officials

  • Lisa Buchan, Team Leader Skills Talent Attraction and Retention Team
  • Lisa Young, Policy Officer, Skills Talent Attraction and Retention Team
  • Robert Mitchell, Senior Migration Policy Officer, Citizens’ Rights Team
  • Samantha Crawford, Senior Marketing Manager, Communications
  • Rory McGregor, Manufacturing Policy Officer, New Clusters Market
  • Jonathan Thomson, Deputy Private Secretary
  • Ailish Juniper, Assistant Private Secretary


  • Justin Black, Hays Recruitment
  • Shona Darroch, Diodes
  • Mark Cowan, Scottish Leather Group
  • Steven Grier, Microsoft
  • Colin Halpin, Barclays Group
  • Gordon McGuiness, SDS
  • Karen Meechan, ScotlandIS
  • Ross Tuffee, Iceberg Tech

Items and actions


Welcome extended.

Introduction from the Minister

The Minister introduced himself and advised he was looking forward to working with the group and hearing more about the work they have been doing.

This would include hearing from the group on how we can increase collaboration with businesses and different sectors to support the economy and develop interventions in attracting the talent that industry needs.

The Minister noted that this is an opportunity to reaffirm the mission of the group and focus attention on things Scottish Government can influence and do.

The Minister opened for discussion.

Topics discussed

  • access to suitable housing remains an issue
  • potential drawbacks to talent attraction due to higher salaries in England
  • relocation costs may pose an issue for some
  • number of places at universities and colleges could be increased – potential for business to fund additional places?
  • Hubs of Excellence could be used to create a working relationship between FE institutions and private companies, where people who are doing the work can be involved in training. This needs to be a multi‑pronged approach
  • examples of colleges working in partnership with e.g. NHS and where English Institutions work with private business to provide teaching input
  • this group has been focused on attracting talent from the rest of the UK but there is an opportunity to consider the scope for international talent attraction
  • the group previously agreed to develop a talent attraction proposal focused on Space and the allied sectors that could be used as a test case creating a process and template that can be replicated in other sectors
  • it was recognised that the work of the group has been progressing and that the work is not starting from scratch, rather building on work being done across the sectors including that by Scottish Enterprise. It was acknowledged that it is a complicated landscape and there is a need to bring everyone together
  • it was highlighted that there is a vast array of jobs available at all levels across the sector and that working with colleges as well as universities is vital, as is ensuring that all sectors related to Space are included
  • Scotland needs to be seen as a career choice, and an attractive place to come. The Space sector is a fast moving and changing work environment and people need to know that there will be wider opportunities, that employers are committed to community and that there is a community to support them over the longer term. Confident messaging will support Scotland’s appeal to those considering moving here
  • the role of Talent Ambassadors was highlighted in supporting this work
  • the Brand Scotland Recruitment Toolkit demonstrates the importance of the focus on value exchange messaging, quality of life, cheaper cost of living etc as well as highlighting the potential in soft migration as well for example, remote working, hybrid working

Minister left the meeting at 11:35

Discussion continued, covering the following

  • encouraging graduates from rUK to come to Scotland
  • the role of sectors and individual employers in supporting graduates to come or stay in Scotland
  • potential for funding from industry for specific campaigns and the use of Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media
  • it was noted that Brand Scotland recently launched a 30 second ad that highlights the Space industry which is helping to change the perception of Scotland – showing a modern Scotland. Next steps for this included discussion on events
  • importance of targeted groups to include life stages
  • the potential of recruitment companies as ambassadors selling Scotland as a career destination, as they are often the first contact a person will have when they are thinking of relocating for a job
  • a mapping exercise may be useful to demonstrate what is already happening and where the gaps are

Final remarks, any other business, meeting close

Comments and approval of the previous meeting minutes was invited and the minutes were approved.

Members were thanked for their contributions.

The next meeting date is still to be confirmed and members will be contacted in due course.

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