Scotland’s highly skilled workforce ensures we are an ambitious, productive and competitive nation. Scotland’s skills system will be the foundation on which we will deliver these ambitions, supporting our people through-out their working lives, and empowering our business to take advantage of future opportunities. A culture of shared investment in Scotland’s future workforce will unlock the potential of our people and businesses to deliver inclusive growth.


To focus government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing sustainable economic growth

National Performance Framework indicators

  • Economy - we have a globally competitive, entrepeneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy
  • Environment - we value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment
  • Fair Work and Business - we have thriving and innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone
  • Poverty - we tackle poverty by sharing wealth and power more equally
  • Education - We are well educated, skilled and able to contribute to society

Strategic labour market outcomes:

  • Skilled and productive workforce
  • Sustainable working population
  • High employment and low unemployment
  • Equal opportunities
  • Fair work

Inclusive growth priorities:

  • High employment
  • Growing and competitive businesses
  • A skilled population capable of meeting employer needs
  • Fair work being central to improving the lives of individuals and families

Scotland's Future Skills Action Plan: themes and actions

Increased system agility and employer responsiveness

  • Develop and promote the definition and understanding of meta skills
  • Publish a Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan
  • Effective Brexit response, including retaining and attracting talent to address skills gaps and labour market shortages
  • Enhance the delivery of graduate apprenticeships available in critical subjects
  • Pilot programme to test approaches to ecommerce skills development

More Opportunities to Upskill and retrain

  • CBI/STUC leading Scottish National Retraining Partnership
  • Increase investment in workforce development to £20m per annum from 2020/21
  • Improve access to work-based learning, education and skills training across the rural economy
  • Publish a careers strategy later in 2019 to support learners and workers in making more informed career choices
  • The development of advanced manufacturing modules through the National Manufacturing Institiute for Scotland (NMIS)

Ensuring financial sustainability of the system

  • Skills Investment in City and Regional Growth Deals
  • Implement Fair Work First to ensure skills and training are key considerations in the award of business support funding
  • Skills Development Scotland/Scottish Funding Council to deliver greater alignment of investment
  • Utilise data sharing across the skills and enterprise systems, to improve how resources are allocated

Accelerate Learner Journey Recommendations

  • Make work based learning an integral part of the skills offer
  • Enhance pathways from the college sector into graduate apprenticeships
  • Strengthen community-based adult learning provision
  • Continue to support industry-led Developing the Young Workforce Employer Groups