The Scottish Government has refreshed the 'Skills for Scotland' Strategy, which aims to simplify the skills system, empower individuals and employers to access help and support more effectively and better meet the needs of the key economic sectors and industries of the future.
Building on the 2007 skills strategy, it takes into account the changed economic climate and the new challenges facing businesses looking to support sustainable employment.
Launching the Strategy during a visit to Gems Engineering Ltd in Glasgow, one of the first employers to take advantage of the Flexible 5,000 programme, Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, Keith Brown MSP, said: "Our original Skills for Scotland Strategy was published three years ago when economic conditions were very different from those currently faced by individuals and employers across the country.
"This refreshed Strategy makes clear the Scottish Government's commitment to training and skills. It sets out a flexible, responsive, partnership approach to meeting Scotland's skills needs at a crucial point in our economic recovery.
"Skills are vital to employers of all sizes across all sectors of the economy and it is crucial that we have a strategy equipped to deal with the challenges and opportunities arising from the competitive environment we find ourselves in.
"This Strategy does just that by targeting support that meets the varying needs of both individuals and employers and the sectors of the future, including those in the low carbon economy."
The strategy reinforces national targets for Skills Development Scotland (SDS) which is already delivering more than 40,000 training opportunities this financial year, including up to 20,000 Modern Apprenticeships, 14,500 training places to support the unemployed and 5,000 places through the Flexible Training Opportunities programme. In addition more than 40,000 people are expected to benefit from Individual Learning Accounts this year.
It also builds on work already underway to support young people, including the 'Step Forward Scotland' programme, a package of measures launched in June to support young people leaving schools and college this summer.
Jacqui Hepburn, director of the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils in Scotland, said: "This refreshed strategy makes a crucial contribution to the ongoing process of simplifying the skills system, making it easier for employers and employees to navigate.
"As the voice of employers in that system, the Alliance Scotland particularly welcomes the strong emphasis on making the supply of skills more responsive to employers' needs. A highly flexible and responsive skills system is one of the bedrocks of sustainable recovery for the Scottish economy. As this document sets out, a sustained focus on streamlining the skills system and better matching the aspirations of individuals with the evolving skills requirements of employers will significantly smooth the path towards recovery."
Source: Alliance of Sector Skills Councils in Scotland