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£160 million to boost skills and learning in Scotland


Scots must radically increase their commitment to learning and developing new skills if Scotland is to have a successful and competitive economy in the 21st century with high-quality jobs.

That was the message today (Thursday May 13, 1999) as the Scottish Enterprise Network unveiled a new £160 million action plan to establish Scotland as one of the world's leading learning nations.

Launching its new skills blueprint "Know How - Achieving Prosperity Through Learning" in Glasgow, the Network revealed an ambitious package of measures to ensure that Scotland has the skills to flourish in the new "knowledge economy".

By the year 2010, the Scottish Enterprise Network aims to ensure that 60% of Scotland's workforce are actively engaged in "continuous learning" - on-going training or skills development.

For the first stage of the Network's co-ordinated action plan, a total of £160 million will be invested in skills and learning initiatives across the Network over the coming year alone.

· £5 million will be ploughed into the development and launch of Scotland's new University for Industry - in effect a centre which will connect people and organisations to the learning opportunities they need.

· More than 100 'on-line' learning centres will be established in communities throughout Scotland to support the University for Industry.

· "Core skills" such as information technology and communication skills will be part of the training plan for every young person supported by the Skillseekers initiative.

· A major drive will be launched to raise awareness among teachers, parents and young people of the benefits of Modern Apprenticeships.

· By March 2000, there will be 35,000 young people participating in
Skillseekers, including 11,500 modern apprentices, making a major contribution to the Government's goal of 20,000 new modern apprentices by 2002.

· Five hundred on-line learning centres will also be established in
small-to-medium sized companies to enable help workers upgrade their skills.

· A Personal Development Show will be staged, along similar lines to Scottish Enterprise's successful Personal Enterprise Show, to make people aware of the benefits of learning.

· By March 2000, more than 3000 people will have an Individual Learning Account, which have been launched to encourage people to save and buy their own learning.

· More than 2000 companies will have achieved Investors In People status by March 2000.

· Small to medium-sized firms will be assisted to re-train workers under threat of redundancy.

· A new Scottish Labour Market Unit will be launched by March 2000 to provide up-to-date labour market intelligence to help both industry and education plan for the future.

The Know How strategy has been developed following an extensive consultation with private sector companies, public sector organisations, voluntary sector groups, policy-makers and representatives from Scotland's learning industry - universities, colleges, schools and training companies. It represents a shared
vision of a successful Scotland with learning at its heart.

Know How is the first action plan to be unveiled which flows from the
recently-launched Scottish Enterprise Network strategy. That set out four main goals, including a Scotland with positive attitudes to learning and enterprise.

Know How has identified three priority areas for action:

1. More people committed to learning in Scotland
2. More organisations which put learning at the heart of their strategy
3. More effective provision of learning to meet future economic needs.

Launching Know How before a high-powered audience of business and community leaders and senior representatives from the learning industry and the voluntary sector, Scottish Enterprise chairman Sir Ian Wood, said:

"If Scotland is to prosper in the 21st century, learning - and by that I mean continuous learning - must be embraced by everyone in Scotland, including individuals, companies, public sector organisations and the learning industry.

"Know How sets out a consensus of how we must place learning at the heart of economic progress. We believe it can make a major contribution in transforming Scotland into one of the world's leading learning nations."

Evelyn McCann, director of skills development at Scottish Enterprise, said: "Know How will be rolled out across the Scottish Enterprise Network to ensure that learning and skills development are given the highest priority.

"Over the last 20 years, major efforts have been made to persuade Scots to change their diets and lifestyles. Now we need to have a new crusade urging us to exercise our minds.

"We are now in a new knowledge economy where the underlying theme is survival of the smartest, not just the fittest. High quality, well-paid jobs and economic success will be secured by those people, companies and communities which are smarter, most skilful and able to adapt to change.

"Scotland - its business and its people - must do more to invest in skills and learning if we are to progress and become one of the world's best-performing
economies. Know How gives us the launch pad to achieve that vision."


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