Land-based Learning Review report: SG response

The Scottish Government response to the Independent Commission for the Land-Based Learning Review that reported to Ministers with 22 recommendations to attract and equip more people, particularly women and young people, with the skills and knowledge needed to work in land-based and aquaculture sectors.

Commission for the Land-based Learning Review – Purpose and Scope

The Commission for the Land-Based Learning Review was established in August 2021 and reported to Scottish Ministers in January 2023. Its remit was to provide Ministers with evidence-based recommendations to attract and equip people, particularly women and young people, with the skills and knowledge needed to work in Scotland’s land-based and aquaculture sectors.

The review covered a wide range of sectors: Agriculture; Aquaculture; Biodiversity; Environmental Conservation; Equine; Fisheries Management; Food and Drink Processing; Forestry, Trees and Timber; Game and Wildlife; Horticulture; Land-based Engineering and Peatland Restoration.

It covered learning pathways in early years, school, senior phase, colleges and universities, work-based, career changers, apprenticeships, careers advice and information, employability support and continuing professional development. The work of the Review was underpinned by the cross-cutting themes of:

  • Equality and Inclusion;
  • Fair Work; and
  • Delivering a just transition to a net-zero and a climate resilient Scotland.

The Scottish Government committed to publish our response to the Review of Land-based Learning in the Policy Prospectus ‘Equality, opportunity, community: New Leadership’. The 2023/24 Programme for Government sets out that the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Land Reform and Islands will work closely with the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills to continue to support rural skills, acting on recommendations from the Land-Based Learning Review and taking account of the wider reforms of the education and skills system that the Scottish Government will be implementing.

Background – Attracting and Equipping More People for the Sector

Land-based and aquaculture sectors (the sector) operate across Scotland in rural and urban spaces. A key priority is for there to be sufficient people with the skills and knowledge to meet both short and long term need in these sectors and there are many issues that impact on the size and composition of the workforce.

A large proportion of these sectors are in islands and rural areas where there is a lower proportion of population of working age compared to the rest of Scotland. There is also a higher proportion of people aged 45 and over and this is particularly true for the age range of 65 and over in remote rural areas.[6] It is projected that population growth will be at a lower rate that urban areas, and there will be a decrease in population in some rural areas. This is a result in part from projected outward migration of young people. Many businesses currently report shortages in numbers and appropriately skilled workforce. In the sector, as across the rural economy, many employers are micro and small enterprises in which there can be less capacity and knowledge to support staff training and education. Amongst the potential workforce, there can be lack of knowledge of these sectors, including unfair negative perceptions and consequently they are often not considered as employment and career options.



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