Future skills: action plan

Scotland's Future Skills Action Plan reaffirms the importance of skills in helping individuals reach their potential.

Theme 1: Increasing system agility and employer responsiveness

Scotland's skills system needs to be flexible, agile and responsive. These attributes will enable it to continue delivering strong results in an uncertain future, and continue to support Scotland's workforce and employers.

To meet future skills challenges, workers should be able to access upskilling, retraining and learning opportunities that meet their needs and circumstances.

At the same time, the skills system must understand and reflect employer needs so that it is able to respond most effectively, with the right interventions, supporting individual organisations and Scotland's economy as a whole.

We believe it is critical that work based learning, greater access to learning which is both modular and provides opportunity for practical experience in the work place should be delivered in conjunction with employers across Scotland.

Next steps

1.1) With Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority and the Scottish Funding Council; we will develop and promote a clear definition of Skills Development Scotland: meta-skills, and begin to embed them within the education and skills system and in support for our future workforce.

1.2) Addressing skills gaps and shortages will be a central part of the Scottish Government's economic and labour market response to the UK's departure from the European Union.

1.3) We are developing a distinct Scottish approach to retaining and attracting talent to address skills gaps and labour market shortages. This will include working collaboratively with Skills Development Scotland, our enterprise agencies, local government and employers to attract people with the right skills, to the right parts of Scotland, taking account of the specific challenges to rural and island communities. This will form part of the Scottish Government's response to the population challenge which is being led by the Ministerial Task Force on Population.

1.4) Working with Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Funding Council and industry partners we will enhance the delivery of Graduate Apprenticeships available in critical subjects such as civil engineering, digital and cyber security and data science. Alongside this we will engage with business on the Scottish Government's ongoing response to the UK Government Apprenticeship Levy.

1.5) With Skills Development Scotland, we will publish a Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan; providing the framework for the skills investment needed to meet the global climate change challenge and successfully support Scotland's transition to a low carbon economy in a just and inclusive manner.

This framework will:

  • maximise the opportunities for people to upskill and reskill within the energy system, moving into areas such as oil and gas decommissioning, offshore wind energy and energy systems management
  • give people the skills needed to support the changes in the energy efficiencies of our buildings and manufacturing and the decarbonisation of our transport system
  • create a supportive and collaborative business environment for research and innovation in new low carbon industries so that we can be ahead of the game and able to prepare for the new skills that will be needed

1.6) To make sure that they can get the right information, advice and support at the right time, by the end of 2019, businesses will be able to access products and services from our enterprise and skills agencies as well as Business Gateway through the online single entry point currently being developed with businesses.

1.7) As part of our drive to ensure businesses can make the most of technology, we will work with industry, education and skills providers to develop appropriate ecommerce training to support companies to scale up. This will include our enterprise and skills agencies, Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Enterprise, providing support for a pilot programme which will test approaches to ecommerce skills development.


Email: skillsdevelopment@gov.scot

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