It is important to recognise that Scotland benefits from a strong, highly-developed skills system. Its cornerstones include:
- High-quality training and skills development leading to standardised and robust qualifications;
- Recognising the importance of work-based learning;
- Strong institutions providing education at a primary, secondary and tertiary level;
- An increasing parity of esteem for vocational and academic learning;
- A diverse spectrum of delivery models, tailored to individual learner need, and;
- Employer engagement throughout the skills system, providing opportunities to ensure education and training deliver the skills that businesses need and support people into fulfilling work.
Scotland’s schools, colleges and universities play a central role in helping learners of all ages to develop their skills.
From age 3 to 18, Scotland’s education system, through Curriculum for Excellence, supports young people to experience opportunities that develop their skills for learning, work and life, both within specific curricular areas and in general.
Our youth employment strategy - Developing the Young Workforce - is expanding and embedding work ready skills by providing work-based opportunities for all of Scotland’s young people. Foundation apprenticeships form a valuable work-based learning pathway and a strong foundation upon which permanent and productive links between education and the wider economy may be developed.
This feeds into Scotland’s college and university sectors, which provide world class tertiary education opportunities and support Scotland’s growing apprenticeship offer with Modern and Graduate apprenticeships enabling apprentices to learn and earn with clear pathways into permanent employment.
Our ambition for Scotland’s skills system is complemented by a range of policies, plans and strategies relating to the provision of education in schools, colleges and universities, including: Developing the Young Workforce and the STEM Education and Training Strategy.
Employers are vital partners at all levels of Scotland’s education and skills systems. Scotland’s apprenticeship programme is perhaps the foremost manifestation of this as apprenticeships are delivered in concert with businesses.
However, cooperation extends far beyond this, encompassing secondary and tertiary education, oversight from professional bodies and critically, in-work training and upskilling opportunities. The latter is growing in importance and we need to encourage more companies to plan for their employees’ future skills needs and ensure that staff can access opportunities to improve their skillset. Doing so is not only essential to enhance business dynamism and growth, but also for Scotland’s future prosperity.