Ministers regularly engage with the business community and proactively publish details of those meetings on the Scottish Government website. On 21 March, I, with the Deputy First Minister, the economy secretary and the finance secretary, met 12 key business leaders at Bute house, to continue our engagement with industry on Scottish Government activities, and to allow them the opportunity to raise any issues with us in return.
I am very pleased that the Scottish Government spends a proportion of its time speaking with business leaders. We can all learn from Scotland’s businesses, large and small, about how we can grow and stimulate the Scottish economy.
Given that young people are, rightly and understandably, a theme of today’s First Minister’s question time, let me ask this: what advice have Scotland’s business leaders given the First Minister on how Scotland’s economy can be stimulated for our young people who are entering the jobs market for the first time, and how is the Scottish Government acting on that advice?
There are a range of ways in which we are working to ensure that our economy offers the opportunities that our young people need and want. The work that many of our universities and colleges do with business to ensure that they are providing the courses and opportunities that employers need to grow their businesses is part of that, and the work that we are doing to encourage high-value investment into Scotland is another part.
One of the business leaders who were engaged in discussion with us on 21 March was Sir Ian Wood, who led for the Scottish Government the work on developing the young workforce, to make much more close and productive links between our schools, our academic institutions and the world of work. The work on developing the young workforce is now being taken forward across Scotland, and chambers of commerce, for example, have a leading role to play in that.
Although our economic strategy and economic initiatives have a range of purposes in growing the economy, they should all be furthering our young people’s opportunities to succeed and prosper.