Post Pandemic: Skilling Scotland
Education and skills are critical, and particularly for future generations.
I will be supporting moves for the further development of a whole system approach to education and training, from nursery school to school, to college and university.
I also support the development of different pathways through learning to provide greater choice and opportunity for learners and businesses.
I will say more about schools in a later blog, but I want here to focus on the skills sector, and in particular for young people about to enter the labour market.
Skills opportunities must take a variety of forms. For some young people who may have lagged behind at school, they will require well supported first steps into skills training. We are lucky in having colleges who already have developed the capacity and provision to provide such early support and opportunities. I will champion the role our colleges, such as Forth Valley College, can play.
I think we could do more to support the development of world leading skills provision. The competitive demands of the 21st century combined with the right of every Scottish citizen to have the best possible opportunities require further development. At present there is an understandable focus on “competence”. But as a recent report commissioned by the SNP Government highlighted, we need to target international excellence.
We need to build the qualifications that will allow us to do so. I will be arguing the we should move beyond benchmarking Scotland’s skills system against other nations of the UK, and refocus on international benchmarking against the best in the world. This would support the SNP Government’s ambitious international trade policies.
In my life outside politics, I have been involved in research that has begun to scope out some of the opportunities available to Scotland.
We need to grasp the international opportunities becoming available and raise our ambitions on behalf of both our young people and our economy.
Only the very best should ever be good enough.