From education to employment

Two new attempts to improve Scotlands skills announced

The launch of a new lifelong learning skills strategy has coincided with the announcement of a merger between two of Scotlands careers and training bodies.

The skills strategy, created by the Scottish Government of Skills for Scotland, aims to improve Scotlands literacy and numeracy, core skills, employability skills and vocational skills, and will be implemented with the help of Scotlands Colleges.

Howard McKenzie, Acting Chief Executive of the Association of Scotlands Colleges (ASC), welcomes the move: The strategy recognises the important role that Scotlands Colleges have to play and stresses that they are already highly effective at responding to local employer needs. We welcome this recognition of our role and look forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Scottish Government, Scottish business and our communities.

The publication of the strategy came at the same time as a merger between national body Careers Scotland and learndirect Scotland was announced. The merger is seen as the first step in creating a single body wholly responsible for skills in Scotland.

Although met with criticism from Unison, the Careers Scotland staff union, the merger was seen as a positive step by Fiona Hyslop, Lifelong Learning Secretary, who announced the news.

This strategy sets out our objectives to develop a lifelong learning system centred upon the individual but responsive to employer needs, she said. It provides a framework to set out a new agenda for skills and learning in Scotland and our ambitions for skills in a lifelong learning context from early years to the work place.

The two announcements indicate the steps that the Scottish Government is taking towards placing skills at the head of economic development, says Sue Pinder, Convenor of ASC Principals Forum and Principal, West Lothian College. Scotlands Colleges play an important role in the development of Scottish business and industry by providing confident, effective and productive citizens, and will continue to work in close conjunction with industry and government to do so.

Michelle Gagan

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