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£6.6m for digital Scotland

11 March 2014

First Minister announces funding to attract up to 11,000 jobs.

Scotland’s digital technologies sector will benefit from £6.6 million to boost its internationally renowned reputation for cutting-edge expertise, the First Minister Alex Salmond announced today (Tuesday 11 March, 2014).

The funding will support digital skills and address actions set out in the information and communications technology (ICT) and digital technologies Skills Investment Plan, which was also published today by the First Minister, on a visit to officially open the new Edinburgh premises of CodeBase, Scotland largest digital incubator company.

The announcement comes during Make Young People Your Business Week which focuses on promoting the digital technologies sector as a career option to a younger audience while celebrating Scottish successes in the industry.

The plan includes actions such as:

  • Responding to the immediate skills shortage by developing an industry led talent academy model in summer 2014 to support the demand of up to 11,000 jobs per year
  • Offering more opportunities to increase female participation in the digital sector
  • Aligning education systems to employers need and supporting employer engagement with schools
  • Delivering 750 work placements for FE/HE students by 2016

Scotland’s ICT and digital technologies sectors deliver £3 billion to the Scottish economy and currently employs 73,000 digital technology professionals. There is huge global demand for Scottish expertise and talent in this sector and today’s announcement will help maintain Scotland’s position as a key player in the global arena.

The Skills Investment Plan (SIP) found that there is an increased global demand for high level digital technology skills.

Officially opening CodeBase, the First Minister said: “Scotland is at the forefront of digital technology, with skills and expertise that is internationally recognised as among the best in the sector.

“It is estimated that the industry is worth over £3 billion to the Scottish economy, and employs 73,000 ICT and digital technologies professionals across all sectors. But we need to ensure continued investment in this highly skilled workforce and that is why today I announce a further £6.6 million to support the sector, develop skills and deliver actions set out in the Skills Investment Plan.

“ICT and digital technologies are a key driver of economic growth. However, despite growing demand for skills the number of young people within the sector has not kept pace. That is why today’s funding announcement along with the publication of the Skills Development Plan is so important, particularly during Make Young People Your Business Week.

“The Scottish Government believes there is even further untapped potential in our digital sector and we want Scotland to become a world-leading digital nation by 2020.”

Stuart Robertson, Director of Digital Highlands and Islands at Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), said:  "ICT and digital technologies are increasingly a vital part of community life and business growth.  In the Highlands and Islands, HIE is leading on a £146m project which will deliver faster, fibre broadband across the region. This technology will change how we live and work, how we deliver services and how we learn.  In tandem with creating new opportunities we also want to help grow the skills base.

“We are working with partners to run digital events and workshops to help people of all abilities become better connected.  We have supported homeworking initiatives.  We work with businesses developing the next generation of digital medical devices and our leading creative industries festival, GoNorth, brings international creative experts to the region to inspire future innovators.  As a direct result of this new SIP we will be able to identify how to reach more young people, particularly through schools, learning providers and the University of the Highlands and Islands, to develop a digitally skilled workforce.”

John McClelland, Chair of Skills Development Scotland said: “There is an unprecedented demand for ICT and digital technology professionals and across Europe the number of jobs is growing by more than 100,000 each year. We need to make sure that Scotland is well placed to be able to take advantage of this growth.

“The Skills Investment Plan sets out a vision for Scotland to be viewed as a world-class location for ambitious ICT and digital technology businesses to be able to develop, invest and grow by having access to a talent pool with exceptional skills.

“To achieve this ambition we have worked with the industry to identify the key actions which need to be undertaken to support the growth ambition of the ICT and digital technologies sector.”

To read the ICT and Digital SIP, visit:

  • The Scottish Government delivered 25,691 modern apprenticeship starts 2012/13. This has produced achievement rates of above 65% since 2007/08 in the face of challenging economic circumstances –achievements rates at 77% in 2012/13.

    In line with the recommendations from the Wood Commission on the Development Scotland’s Young Workforce we are committed to increasing the number of Higher Level Apprenticeships, particularly for STEM related area.

    There has been a year on year increase in the uptake of the Information Technology Professional (ITP) Modern Apprenticeships. In 2013/14 Skills Development Scotland will fund approximately 600 contracted IT places. This is up from 468 in 2012/13 and 344 in 2011/12.

    Recent evidence from the ICAEW, Bank of Scotland, Scottish Chambers of Commerce and commercial property advisers Cushman & Wakefield indicate that the referendum is not affecting confidence.

    The ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK business confidence monitor published on March 5, 2014 gave Scotland a +38 score which is slightly above the UK average of +37.2, and up near 10 points from +28.5 in the last three months of last year.

    In February 2014, the BOS Scotland Purchasing Managers' Index Report showed record levels of business confidence and Scotland. The figures also indicated private sector output expanded for the 17th consecutive month in February. The PMI survey also reported the fastest rise in employment in the survey’s 16-year history, as well as an expansion in new orders in both the services and manufacturing sectors.

    Make Young People Your Business Week runs from March 10-14

    To follow Make Young People Your Business Week on twitter, use #DigiSkills

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