Inward Investment Forum minutes: March 2018

Minutes for the meeting of the Inward Investment Forum that took place on 21 March 2018.

Attendees and apologies


  • Chair of the Inward Investment Forum - Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work

Forum members

  • Martyn White, Computershare UK
  • Lesley Black, CS Wind
  • Fiona Hamill, Johnson and Johnson Medical Ltd (Lifescan)
  • Kathleen Grieve, MSD
  • Margaret Johnson, Morgan Stanley
  • Nicola Spence, Spirit Aerosystems
  • Karen Bingham, Reprocell Europe
  • Julian Taylor, Scottish Development International
  • Stephen Pathirana, Scottish Government
  • Judith Hill, Scottish Government


  • Colin Stewart, Citi Investor Services
  • Dave Tudor, GlaxoSmithKlein
  • Ken Sutherland, Canon Medical
  • Ruth Minnican, Diageo
  • Ben Hadfield, Marine Harvest
  • John Reid, Michelin
  • David Turner, Webhelp
  • Allan Watson, Kyowa Kirin International Ltd.


  • Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Employability and Training, Scottish Government
  • Chris Brodie, Skills Development Scotland
  • Gordon McGuinness, Skills Development Scotland
  • Paul Smart, Scottish Government


  • Anne Buchanan, Scottish Government

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown, MSP, provided a brief overview of the focus for the meeting, Attracting, Retaining and Developing a Skilled Workforce. The Minister for Employability and Training would be joining the meeting shortly due to an earlier engagement.

Mr Brown commented on his recent discussions with Talent Canada on the global demand for high-skilled employees and the subsequent retention challenges that arise. The issues being discussed at this meeting are also being considered through the Enterprise and Skills Review.

Scotland has a high percentage of employees with a further or higher education qualification and, whilst that is commendable, does it fulfil the skills requirements of employers? Should we be investing at a different level? How easy is it for companies to access to training or mentoring? Are there retention problems? Where are the good practices and successes happening in companies? These are all potential areas for discussion.

The Cabinet Secretary concluded his opening remarks by assuring the Forum that actions identified at this meeting would be followed through, citing a meeting organised between NHS/Pharma and Forum members Johnson and Johnson and MSD in response to issues raised at the previous Forum meeting.

Marketing Campaign presentation

Julian Taylor (SDI) previewed the new global campaign “Scotland is Now” that will launch in April. There is a need for us to have a strong Scotland brand that differentiates us from our global competitors. For example, New Zealand has a strong national identity and branding which it has capitalised on to deliver impressive export sales to China. Our pioneering past has helped to define our present – this new brand speaks to a modern, innovative, inclusive Scotland that is a destination choice for businesses, students and visitors.

Scotland is Now is intended to be a movement behind which public and private sector can stand behind. There is an opportunity for the Forum members to participate through, for example being “brand ambassadors” – promoting the messaging through case studies, social media etc.

A brief video presentation was followed by a discussion on opportunities to use the new campaign in marketing and through existing support structures including:

  • opportunities for promotion through the offshore renewable supply chain
  • need to promote the whole of Scotland brand – not just the central belt
  • in the United States, English cities have strong individual identities but Scotland has a strong national identity and this campaign should reinforce that view
  • harnessing the collective capacity of the industry leadership groups (ILGs) through, for example, the international workstream of the Life Science ILG. This point was further discussed to incorporate the opportunities through the cross-functional ILG Leaders Group and Innovation Centres

An Action Point to clarify the current status of the ILG Leadership Group was taken away.

Presentation by Morgan Stanley

Margaret Johnson, HR Executive Director Morgan Stanley talked the Forum through the company’s participation in a range of initiatives and co-created, award-winning skills programmes. A summary of those initiatives is at Annex A.

Post presentation discussion identified the challenge for investors without existing academic relationships to connect with the Higher or Further Education institute that offers the best match for their needs. Having a single point of entry providing a brokerage service between companies and HE/FE institutes would be valued.

An Action Point was taken to look at the viability of this proposal, possibly as part of the Enterprise and Skills Review work.

Introductory remarks from Minister for Employability and Training

The Minister for Employability and Training joined the meeting and provided a snapshot of the latest Scottish Labour Market Statistics which were announced that morning.

He reiterated the Government’s aim of ensuring that Scotland’s investments in skills delivers a talented and flexible workforce that is agile and meets the needs of employers and of the jobs of the future including in design, technology and automation.

Skills Alignment Presentation

Chris Brodie and Gordon McGuinness (SDS) delivered an overview of the role and activities of Skills Development Scotland that included the Skills Planning Model, the roles of the evaluation, regional and sectoral planning and collaborative delivery approaches.

That was followed by a more detailed examination of the new 5 Point Skills Alignment Process being implemented through the Enterprise and Skills Review actions and on the Scotland’s labour market and skills challenges, both immediate and longer term. A copy of the paper setting out the key issues discussed is at Annex B.

The presentation and subsequent discussion covered issues relating to:

  • the role of Industry Leadership Groups and the development of Skills Investment Plans of which there are currently 11 covering sectors including Financial Services, Life Sciences, Engineering and ICT/Digital Technologies
  • the continuing development of the Apprenticeship Family which includes Foundation Apprenticeships, Modern Apprenticeships and Graduate Apprenticeships. Discussion included effectiveness of Foundation Apprenticeships in addressing challenges in manufacturing and in financial services
  • understanding and addressing demand and how to address the productivity challenge, i.e. highly educated workforce not reflected in productivity performance
  • the issues of underemployment, underutilisation, youth unemployment and non-standard work
  • effectiveness of current approach and the need to clearly articulate what it is and how it operates to potential inward investors. Example given of how our support for STEM has been well received by US Life Science companies
  • benefits and opportunities for early engagement in schools and effectiveness of the Developing Young Workforce model
  • MBA courses not being as well supported by employers; could a MBA-light programme be an alternative? Would it be possible to create a bespoke course using the various expertise that exists in different institutes?
  • role of businesses in shaping the skills offering, although a clearer route map would help employers negotiate through the system. Account Managers can provide assistance, but sector maps on routes to support would be beneficial

An Action Point to consider how current routes to information could be simplified and provide easier negotiation for employers was agreed.

Time and date of next meeting

The Cabinet Secretary thanked all for their contributions and for those who had delivered presentations. The next meeting is likely to focus on issues relating to the impact of exiting the EU with the date and venue to be arranged.

He thanked all for attending and closed the meeting.

Inward Investment Forum minutes - March 2018.pdf



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