Summary

We are committed to developing our skills system to meet the challenges of the future, enhance productivity and ensure that inclusive growth benefits all across Scotland.


Skills are an important part of many individuals and businesses’ identities, helping them to define who they are, and what they want to be. This applies equally to Scotland: our skills tell the world about our strengths, our ambitions for growth and the contribution we will make in future.

Our skills system is among the world’s most successful. We have more people with high-level qualifications than any other OECD country, and schools, colleges and universities that deliver high-quality education to learners at all levels.

In response to the ever changing world we live in, we must build on our success to date to develop our skills system to deliver for the future.

Scotland’s Future Skills Action Plan sets out how we will do so. It fully accepts and endorses the recommendations made by the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board in its 2018 Strategic Plan.

Our plan outlines our vision for Scotland’s skills system and identifies the critical challenges we will need to overcome. It sets out the work already being undertaken to meet the Board’s recommendations, and commits to ongoing work with partners from across the country to achieve our shared ambitions for our skills system, and for Scotland.

We need a skills system that is characterised by agility and flexibility. It must understand and respond at pace to the needs of business, to shifting wider economic circumstances. It must address local, regional and national employer demand, while ensuring Scotland has a highly-skilled working population. It must also deliver for the diverse needs of Scotland’s people and support them at all stages of their career.

Our skills system must also support our efforts to attract the most talented people to Scotland. We want our economy to be vibrant and open, welcoming all those who wish to contribute to it. Our ability to provide high-quality training and upskilling opportunities will play a central role in this.

Transforming Scotland’s skills system is a long-term process of iterative progressive improvement. We must deliver relevant and adaptive changes to respond to the ever-changing needs of individuals, businesses and our economy.

Tackling inequality and our ambitions for inclusive growth is at the heart of all we do. As we develop and implement this plan we will take account of the lived experience of those who currently face disadvantage in the labour market.