New skills plan to grow Edinburgh & SE Scotland's Economy
9 October 2017
Public sector tackles key issues and builds on City Region
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) today said that a reduction in
immigrant workers due to Brexit, the rise in the number of older
staff hitting retirement, and poor transport links are all factors
that could stall economic growth in Edinburgh and South East
To help deal with these issues SDS, along with a range of
partners, has launched a new Skills Investment Plan (SIP) for the
region. It will ensure all public sector agencies work more
effectively together to meet the needs of employers and locals
while encouraging economic growth and tackling inequality.
Spanning Edinburgh, Fife, West Lothian, Midlothian, East Lothian
and Scottish Borders, the plan was welcomed by Angela Leitch, Chief
Executive of East Lothian Council and Chair of the Skills and
Innovation Workstream Group for the region.
She said: "This is a time of real opportunity and change. While
there is diverse employment and a growing business base - with
opportunities across a range of key sectors such as retail,
tourism, financial services, health and social care - it's
essential that the new investment in the region benefits our own
communities with a focus on inclusive growth.
"As the projects start to develop we need to ensure that skills
supply keeps pace with demand, and that there are improved
opportunities to support our citizens into and through employment.
This is precisely what this Regional Skills Investment Plan is
designed to do."
The SIP sets out a 20 year vision to secure economic prosperity
for the region as well as a three year action plan developed with a
range of partners including local employers and educators.
It states that there is a growing need for digital, leadership
and management skills to drive growth and diversification. But it
also reports that while the region has a highly-qualified
workforce, it also has higher than average levels of
under-employment as well as an ageing population.
According to Phil Ford, Regional Skills Planning Lead for SDS,
these issues along with Brexit and the lack of transport links in
rural areas, mean it's imperative to start thinking now about
skills and employment needs for the next two decades.
"There are a number of strengths to this region's economy, but
also many variances between and within different local authorities,
based on a range of factors such as geography and labour market
"This SIP offers the flexibility to deal with those variances
while providing the strategic long-term approach which will help
partners addresses some very real and some very big challenges like
Brexit and retiring workers."
At the heart of the plan are seven areas of action to be
addressed over the next three years:
- Building capacity and evidence to underpin a regional approach
to skills investment
- Ensuring skills opportunities from the City Regional Deal are
- Establishing clear pathways into key sectors and
- Developing an employer-led programme to improve digital
- Enhancing support for developing leadership, management and
- Providing high-quality and more effective support to residents
to access skills training
- Enabling graduates and older workers to make more effective use
of their skills
The plan will be a key driver in helping deliver the ambitious
targets laid out in the £25 million, eight year Integrated Regional
Employability and Skills (IRES) programme, which includes giving
nearly 15,000 more people access to training , as well as finding
additional employment for 5,000 more.