A series of events designed to help employers make sure their staff have the skills they need will kick off in Dundee on Thursday 29 August.
The Upskilling Your Workforce roadshow, led by The Open University (OU) in partnership with the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), will give businesses the chance to discuss their own skills needs and hear about some of the practical steps they can take to prepare for future challenges.
With skills shortages already costing Scottish businesses £360 million in the last year and technological change set to transform jobs across all sectors, a skilled workforce has never been more important.
Attendees of the event, which is free, will hear from Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science and from Clare Adamson MSP, Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee.
Looking ahead to the event, Richard Lochhead MSP said:
“For half a century, The Open University has offered access to learning in a flexible and supportive environment. As Scotland faces a range of challenges ahead - from Brexit to technological advances and digitalisation - we must consider how more people in work can broaden their skills, or retrain if needed, to remain competitive.
“In coming weeks the Scottish Government will launch a Future Skills Plan to address these and other challenges, in which we plan to work with employers and workers to ensure our skills system is able to flex and respond quickly when required.
“We strongly support this series of workshops by the OU, and urge employers across the country to use them to see for themselves the skills they need to develop, in what is likely to become an even more competitive environment.”
Susan Stewart, Director of The Open University in Scotland and chair of the event, added:
“This is a chance for employers both to tell us what they need and to find out some of the things they can do to start addressing skills development in their business.
“We’ve got fifty years of experience supporting employers and providing their workforces with the flexible learning they need and, with three-quarters of our current students in work, we’re well-placed to help your business.”
Matt Lancashire, SCDI’s Director of Policy and Public Affairs, commented:
“SCDI is delighted and proud to be partnering with the Open University in Scotland to launch this nationwide roadshow on Upskilling the Workforce in Dundee.
“As technology continues to offer economic opportunities, businesses across Scotland are increasingly looking for the kind of short, modular courses provided by The Open University to re-skill and upskill their workforce to support their business growth and drive productivity.
“We look forward to hearing the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education & Science and the Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee thoughts on how we drive forward this agenda in Scotland.”
The event is the first of eight, bringing together local employers and experts to discuss a common problem and find ways to improve productivity, morale and retention. The remaining dates will take place across Scotland throughout 2019, which is the OU’s fiftieth anniversary year.
The launch event will be held at Discovery Point in Dundee at 5.30pm on Thursday 29 August. It is free to attend with registration available here.
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