Digital skills support for businesses locating to Scotland

Wherever you are in the world, discover how Scotland’s digital talent can benefit your business. Alastair Gillen, growth and inward investment manager at Scotland’s national skills agency, Skills Development Scotland explains the support available to help you access that talent.

Technological and societal disruptions are coming at us thick and fast. While we cannot predict the future, we can prepare for a future that is increasingly unpredictable.

Scotland’s national skills agency, Skills Development Scotland, has been leading a programme of work to understand what these changes mean for the workplace, and the skills that will be required for this. This future-focussed work is embedding innovation in our products and services to make sure Scotland’s citizens and businesses are prepared for this complex future.

Your gateway to the best talent on the planet

Skills Development Scotland is here to help businesses around the globe discover what Scotland’s talent can do for them.

Businesses already established here understand that people are our greatest asset and that our 2.8 million-strong workforce is one of the best trained, most reliable and cost-competitive labour forces in the world.

Investing in digital infrastructure and digital skills is a policy priority for the Scottish Government and is a dominant feature in response to the economic impact of the pandemic within its Programme for Government.

And through the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review, the Scottish Government underlines the commitment for Scotland to be a global leader in digital infrastructure and skills.

Digital skills to match your needs

Covid-19 has fast-tracked the shift to digital and placed an even greater emphasis on a strong digital infrastructure and associated skills to capitalise on it. Homeworking is not a new concept but has become the norm for many operating models as businesses respond to the pandemic. It’s a model which industry tells us will soon become an integral part of working life.

Scotland, particularly across the Highlands and Islands region, has been at the forefront, over the last 15 years, of testing, supporting and adopting, multiple pioneering projects to embed a robust and sustainable remote-working approach.

Scotland has a leading role to play in shaping a future towards a more distributed working model. As companies rethink their corporate real estate footprint and engage a dispersed workforce through geographic skills hubs, they’ll need support to access the best talent without compromising their culture and organisational values.

Adapt, sustain and strengthen your business

Scotland, with its world-class universities and innovative further education colleges, has rightly developed the reputation for producing a talented digital workforce. This is further enhanced through Scottish Apprenticeships which provide industry a work-based learning approach to developing and building the skills it requires.

With over 100 apprenticeship frameworks available from our oldest high school pupils through to Honours Degree-level, apprenticeships offer employers a reliable and effective way to upskill and retain its workforce.

J.P. Morgan champions Scotland’s apprentices

Though times are tough, thousands of employers in Scotland are supporting people through apprenticeships, developing new talent and gaining real business benefits.

For example, Graduate Apprenticeships are helping finance giant J.P. Morgan to service its clients worldwide. While Dutch-owned tech firm, Celestia UK is building the skills it needs after taking on two apprentices to help grow its satellite antenna operations in Scotland, despite the pandemic.

J.P. Morgan, one of the world’s most successful financial institutions with a significant presence in Scotland, now has 55 Graduate Apprentices working at its tech centre of excellence in Glasgow’s financial services district.

Quite a jump in numbers from the original seven that started with the company in 2015, and that’s because, as Vice President Robbie Allan said: "J.P. Morgan believes apprentices are critical to increasing the number of quality software developers able to support our thousands of users worldwide."

“We believe it’s vital for the industry to recognise the importance of apprenticeships, and the crucial role they can play in inspiring the next generation of technologists."

Robbie Allan, Vice President, J.P. Morgan

"We want people who have a real passion for technology, who want to learn and who we can learn from, and who bring a fresh outlook. Apprenticeships are one of the best ways to do that, whether your business is big or small," he added.

Diodes invests in Scotland’s talent

Greenock-based semiconductor company Diodes has continued to recruit fresh talent into the business throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

As a leading global manufacturer and supplier in a range of semiconductor markets, Diodes has 28 sites across the world serving the consumer electronics, computing, communications, industrial, and automotive sectors.

Diodes team, Greenock, Scotland

With the support of Skills Development Scotland and partners, Diodes has significantly invested in a variety of areas at its Greenock facility in the West of Scotland. It has benefited from support on workplace innovation, training, R&D and various engineering specialisms. People and their skills at the heart of what they do.

Gerry McCarthy, managing director of Diodes said: "It’s such an involved process, with process engineering you have different experts in different fields, all working together to make an integrated circuit. The equipment we use is incredibly complex."

"Investment in staff is really important," he explains. "If you don’t invest properly you pay the price. We have many experienced employees who have been with us a long time and may soon begin to think about retirement, so it is important to look forward at what skills will be needed."

Diodes is a fantastic example of a company implementing a skills and people strategy now. It’s providing them with the infrastructure to achieve business growth and provide opportunities to the next generation of talent across the region.

With guidance from Skills Development Scotland, alongside our partners supporting the investment, Diodes has developed new relationships with key skills provision across schools, further and higher education.

Meanwhile, it has continued to build on existing relationships to ensure it can attract and develop the right talent and be considered an attractive and exciting employer to work for.

Skills ecosystem

Scotland’s apprentices are developed by industry for industry. You’re invited to get involved, engage and benefit from this responsive and flexible approach to developing the skills your business needs to succeed. Technical Expert Groups ensure the continued evolution of Scotland’s apprenticeship offering and play a significant role in ensuring that industry is at the forefront of shaping course content.

Businesses are also integral to Scotland’s STEM Strategy working in partnership with our education and training providers to develop the digital talent pipeline. As a result, the Scottish digital workforce is enabled to continually fuel our tech ecosystem, made up of multiple accelerators, innovation centres and one of Europe’s largest incubators.

Digital learning and upskilling

Presentation at the Data Lab, Edinburgh

The Data Lab

Scotland’s Innovation Centre for data and AI.

Fast Track

An academy style talent development programme for industry including financial services, digital and tech.

"CodeClan was established as Scotland’s first digital skills academy. We want to ensure that Scotland is harvesting its own talent, but also to help students find jobs that are right for them. You come in to learn software development. But over the four months we also work with our students to develop confidence, help them understand the digital technology market and ensure they are job ready when they leave."

Melinda Matthews-Clarkson, CEO of CodeClan

Funded learning programmes 

From the continual expansion of our funded work-based learning programmes to initiatives aimed to support both individuals and businesses, such as:

Skills Development Scotland aims to ensure that the development of Scotland’s 'digital humans' remains integral to building a sustainable future for all.

Watch our video 'A Human Future' to find out more.

If you’re looking for the right talent for your global business, get in touch and we’ll connect you to our skills development experts.

Skills landscape in Scotland (PDF, 1.2MB)

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