Scotland the Blog: Scotland’s Skilled Future

There were some choice April fool’s around last week. There was one about the Edinburgh pandas getting a new love chamber which seemed all too plausible until the article suggested they would be flown back to China for a “conception moon.” However with the pandas under renewed pressure to breed, the latest proposal is to fly in sugary bamboo to put them in the mood. Let’s hope they don’t just gorge and lie around watching TV!

At our six month mark it’s been a busy few weeks with our excellent conferences delivering real insight and engagement. Speaking of which planning is underway for our next big conference on employee engagement at the fabulous Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh in October. That's by popular demand from our HR audience and we will be running other events around that key theme. Keep your eyes peeled.

It's quite clear from recent stooshies over whether Scotland can keep the pound or whether we can join the EU, that arguably the most important aspect of Scotland's future, the skills and talents of our people, has been neglected. However that's only been by the press and media. The Scottish Government and Scottish business is much switched on to that debate and so is CIPD Scotland.

We are drawing on the great work of both our national colleagues and the work of Scottish and UK academics to put that debate at the centre. We will be touring Scottish branches soon to put the debate out there. Scotland simply cannot afford not to debate the future of our skills and human capital.

Today we met Jim Mather whose  workplace review seeks to link Scotland's industrial strategy to its skills and talents. We will also be connecting a group of Scottish HRDs to Sir Ian Wood's Commission for Young People. His team are putting the finishing touches to their proposals on how we can develop that most precious of our talent pipeline. Yet Scotland needs to address much more.

As we develop our paper on Scotland's Skilled Future we set out the key skill challenges for our nation, from pre -school to pension age and beyond. Scotland's demographics and changing technology mean we need to develop awareness within the HR profession more than ever about these key issues. Over the next few STB blogs I will be setting these challenges out using a rich fund of existing research and insight from CIPD and elsewhere.

These are a not simply skills issue; that’s a shorthand for a much bigger concept, developing Scotland’s human capital improving Scotland’s workplace. This is about how Scotland recruits, develops and motivates its people towards the purpose of greater productivity and prosperity. It's a question which precludes and circumvents the referendum.

I'll be addressing everything from nursery education to neuroscience and I will be broadening the agenda on skills to talk about every aspect of the workplace from how teachers are trained and developed to how we train for an era of automation, less skilled work, and enhanced cognitive skills.

I will reflect on some of that insight and expertise as I reflect in the blog  on Scotland’s Skilled Future. This week because we are meeting with the Wood Commission we will look at the issues around employing young people. Arguably this is the critical area of policy to get right, but there is a lot to consider and with the input of senior HR professionals, I will reflect on that learning next time.

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