Scotland's employers have given their clear backing to the importance of training and skills in a survey published by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI).
The survey of 200 employers appears on a brand new web service for employers - Our Skillsforce. Developed by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) it was launched today by Minister for Youth Employment, Angela Constance.
The survey shows that Scottish businesses want to work in closer partnership with the public sector on skills development. Employers said that while skills and training are among the range of key challenges they face, the benefits to the business are clearly recognised.
Dr Lesley Sawers CEO of Scottish Council for Development and Industry said: "A trained and skilled workforce is one of the most important requirements for any business hoping to grow and develop in today's competitive environment. Working in partnership with Skills Development Scotland, we have ensured that the voice of business has been a key factor in the development of Our Skillsforce web service. This web service will help many businesses, of all sizes, across Scotland recruit and develop their staff and provide easy access to a range of information and support services to help reduce business uncertainty and cost."
Ms Constance said: "In my time as Minister for Youth Employment, I have heard from a number of employers who need assistance in finding the right person for the job opportunities they have available. We also already know that we have a talented, enthusiastic generation of young people, many of whom need assistance in finding work, particularly in the current economic climate.
"Our Skillsforce will make an important difference to both young people and employers and go a long way to matching the right person to the right job. We must ensure that people seeking work, be they a young person or over 24, have all the help they need to maximise their potential, seize the training and employment opportunities available, and help drive the Scottish economy forward."
John McClelland, Chair of SDS added: "In today's competitive economy, having a skilled workforce is the lynch pin to achieving business success.
Our Skillsforce strengthens employer engagement, as well as responding to what Scotland's employers have been asking for.
"Our Skillsforce makes it much easier for them to recruit and develop the skills they need now and to plan for a skilled workforce in the future, regardless of business size or location."
Motherwell Bridge can trace its roots back to its formation in 1898 and today is a world leader in designing, building and maintaining storage tanks, heat exchangers and gasholders.
Chief executive Russell Ward said Our Skillsforce would be a welcome resource for helping the company source and train the engineers and skilled tradesmen of the future.
He said: "Motherwell Bridge prides itself on taking a hands-on approach to training and skills. We are already looking to develop our own in-house training school philosophy and have started re-engaging with local young people to demonstrate that engineering is a career with a future.
"The Our Skillsforce service will be invaluable for helping us recruit enthusiastic people and equip them with the skills we need to not only tackle the jobs of tomorrow, but retain talent in-house."
Our Skillsforce sets out all the skills support services available from organisations such as SDS; Jobcentre Plus and local authorities. Its features on the site make it easy to get information that works best for each individual company's needs. The site also enables employers to flag their skills and recruitment needs through a Skills Alert feature and be assisted to the best available support package.