Skills Priorities (Withdrawal from European Union)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd June 2022.

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Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

4. To ask the Scottish Government whether its priorities for the skills required to support the economy have changed as a result of any consequences of withdrawal from the European Union. (S6O-01271)

Photo of Jamie Hepburn Jamie Hepburn Scottish National Party

The national strategy for economic transformation, “Delivering Economic Prosperity”, recognises that

“A skilled population is fundamental to ... productivity and .. prosperity.”

The NSET skilled workforce programme sets out priority actions to ensure that people have the skills that they need at every stage of life and that employers invest in the skill set of their workforce.

NSET highlights that

“Brexit will inflict greater damage on the economy than even the pandemic”,

and says that

“This is becoming increasingly apparent”,

with almost all sectors reporting labour and skills shortages.

To help to mitigate those consequences, the Scottish Government will implement a programme of work to attract talent from the rest of the UK. In addition, it has committed to, and will launch, a migration service for Scotland.

Photo of Christine Grahame Christine Grahame Scottish National Party

First, Presiding Officer, I thank you for allowing me to leave immediately after my supplementary in order to comply with a long-standing engagement, which was obviously arranged before today’s truncated lunch.

Notwithstanding that education has a role in providing society with a relevant workforce, does the minister agree that the strength of Scottish education is its broad base, with flexibility built in? As pupils progress through secondary school and at senior level, they may very well change their mind about what they want to do later in life.

Photo of Jamie Hepburn Jamie Hepburn Scottish National Party

In general terms, yes—I very much agree with that. We see that the nature of our society and our economy is constantly changing, and in that sense our education system must adapt and must ensure that people can be resilient and adapt in the face of those changes.

I very much agree with the point that Christine Grahame makes. It is true not only for the school environment, but for pupils’ education and skills development across the entirety of their lives. She can be assured that I will take that approach in my area of activity.