4 Skills and workforce
Again there is broad support for the actions identified. Prioritisation scoring analysis indicates action to provide innovative and agile skills interventions to enable employers to respond to the emerging needs of new technologies and workplace practices (SFW5) and to develop a skills partnership programme (SFW6) were the most popular on average.
There was considerable depth and detail in consultation responses, once again, requiring further consideration. Awareness of, and coordination with, existing initiatives was a frequent theme as was reacting to demand. Comments provided have bolstered work already underway to fast track training to meet shortages, plan in partnership and respond to the pandemic's impact on graduate employment.
Skills Supply and Demand - There was a consistent call from respondents for the continued alignment of skills supply with areas of demand and planning for emerging pressures. Additionally, comments also highlighted the importance of maintaining regular dialogue between industry and suppliers to ensure the currency of course provision and understanding of real time skills gaps. Some respondents called for greater support for apprenticeships whilst others emphasised the need for collaboration at scale to reflect the growing importance of upskilling and reskilling to tackle the emerging needs of new technologies. Focusing on the specific needs of supply chain company employees was also recommended in a way that might match companies with employees who have transferable skills.
Graduates and Apprenticeships – Related to the above comments, respondents were keen that alignment of apprenticeship pathways and business needs were explored further. Some suggested tying access to other government schemes to a commitment to young people workforce development. Specifically considering the needs of SMEs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds was emphasised by some as crucial in the pandemic context. Learning from past successes and best practice was also noted.
Skills Net Zero – The links to the Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan were highlighted by significant numbers of respondents with a desire to continue expanding these connections more broadly to related initiatives elsewhere. Targeted training and curriculum inclusion were cited as options to raise awareness of just transition, sustainability, and supporting transition via products, production methods and the end user. Behavioural and leadership training was also noted in this context.
Regional Alignment/Clustering – Allowing for the varying economic needs of Scottish regions was consistently referenced by respondents. Tying in seamlessly with existing efforts was noted as key with a desire to manage out overlap. The relationship to this skills provision and efforts at cluster building was stressed by some with a keenness to see associated coordinated planning. A desire for this collaborative effort to be as broad as possible was emphasised.
Fair Work and Inclusivity – Some respondents suggested using public support and procurement opportunities as a driver for Fair Work. Additionally, a more explicit emphasis should be given to equality and diversity issues within the sector and more tangible outcomes should be targeted to find opportunities to support these underlying challenges. The Recovery Plan should also continue to drive the importance of STEM.