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Ambitious plans have been unveiled to grow a “workforce for the future” in Scotland’s economic powerhouse.

A new Regional Skills Investment Plan for the Glasgow City Region was launched at South Lanarkshire College in East Kilbride, with the backing of eight local authorities, the business sector, universities and colleges and the Scottish and UK Governments.

The plan, underpinned by a detailed Glasgow University analysis of the region’s labour market, sets out a number of ambitious actions which will:

  • Ensure the workforce has the right skills to deliver £1 billion of City Deal projects
  • Help local people get those skills and some of the 29,000 additional jobs that will be created
  • Reduce labour market inequalities and in-work poverty
  • Increase opportunities for local businesses to develop and grow   

Modern and Foundation Apprenticeships

The five-year plan is accompanied by an ambitious set of actions for the first 12 months, including plans to grow the number of Modern and Foundation Apprenticeships, plus a Youth Guarantee with a 95% target for school leavers going into jobs, training, further or higher education.

These and other actions will support people from all backgrounds as they seek to develop the skills that will help them share in the benefits of economic growth. They will also futureproof the regional economy by ensuring the local workforce has the digital and other skills needed going forward.

Eugene Gallanagh, Senior Director of Enabling Services at Skills Development Scotland, said:

“Reacting to the rapid technological shifts that make up the fourth industrial revolution requires a sustained and ambitious response from across the public sector.

“This Skills Investment Plan provides a framework for that response and casts it as an opportunity to be seized rather than a threat.

“By focusing on the meta skills which make us uniquely human, and by providing greater scope for the upskilling and reskilling necessary to create a more flexible and responsive workforce, we can help Scotland and all its regions gain a competitive advantage in the years to come.”

The event to mark the launch was attended by representatives of the region’s twelve universities and colleges, with a keynote speech by Kate Forbes, the Scottish Government Minster for Public Finance and Digital Economy.

"High performing regional economy" 

Welcoming the plan, Ms Forbes said: “This Skills Investment Plan is an ambitious, comprehensive and long-term endeavour, and I am pleased to see it recognising the need for future digital skills.

“The Scottish Government is fully behind the collaborative regional partnership as Glasgow City Region works towards a shared vision of a high skill, high performing regional economy which delivers inclusive economic growth.”

Event host, Councillor John Ross, Leader of South Lanarkshire Council, who leads on Skills and Employment for the Glasgow City Region, said:   “Skills are a big part of our ambitious plans for growing our economy and for ensuring our residents and businesses benefit from this growth.

“Skills are vital in building confidence, raising aspiration, improving productivity and reducing poverty and barriers to participation. Our new Skills Investment Plan addresses these challenges.”

Kristy Reynolds, Head of Learning and Development at Uddingston-based Dawnfresh Seafoods, said it was vital to give people the opportunity to “upskill”, especially to get them back into work.

She added: I welcome this regional plan for skills and genuinely believe it will help with engaging the ‘forgotten workforce’ – those who for whatever reason may not have worked for some time.

“It also makes absolute sense for Industry to be involved in skills planning, to work more closely with the Education sector in understanding and mapping out what is important to businesses and what skills are likely to be needed by businesses in the future.”

A key aim in the plan is to support inclusive growth with actions to reduce inequalities in earnings, tackle gaps in education, skills and employment outcomes for SIMD zones and reduce the percentage of the working age population with no qualifications.

Other actions in the plan include the setting up of a Skills for Financial Services hub to support Glasgow City Region’s increasing international recognition in this sector, and the introduction of a Regional Fair Work Strategy.

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