Scotland the Blog: Politics, Powerhouses and Productivity - why people and development is all that matters

The Proclaimers had a great song on their “This is the Story” album called “The part that Really Matters”. This week with the launch of our Interim Scotland’s Skilled Future project we focus on the part of the economy that really matters: people and development - because it’s the key to productivity.

The Scottish government wants to take the high road, building skills, business ambition and innovation. This was the declared intent when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon launched the Scottish Business Pledge at Hearts football ground on Tuesday 26th May. This will take time and with the right engagement levels will hopefully flip the productivity switch. The UK government wants to unleash the beast of business dynamism, setting business free from meddlesome regulation and hoping that what Keynes called "animal spirits" will assert themselves. The Scottish Government are about big government the Conservatives big business.

The UK Government productivity pitch is to revitalise the regions and hopefully reduce the gravitational pull of London. The appointment of Jim O'Neill former Goldman Sach's Chief economist and the man who made The BRIC's famous will be responsible for laying the foundations  of regional government through the mortar of empowered city Mayors. Manchester has already acted, whilst Birmingham is dawdling as Dudley and Solihull think about separate development and Coventry cavils.

This week our Scotland Chair, the Market Development Manager and I, started our cross-water co-operation with Northern Ireland. Our friends in the North have had a devolved settlement since the Good Friday Agreement but it would be fair to say that the political solution has not been accompanied by dynamism and vigour in the economy.  Not for the want of talent and enterprise but because of difficult, and often deadlocked dance between political parties driven by identity politics. Our NI Branch has just run a sell-out awards dinner and is in a position to engage with business and government to build on the regions strengths and address its weaknesses.

In CIPD Scotland we developed a referendum narrative  around skills. This has helped us to move the discussion on to higher ground. Everyone wants jobs, prosperity and productivity and we call it Scotland's Skilled Future.  We launched our interim report  in Edinburgh at a  great event where Dr Kirsteen Grant of Napier University ran a skills utilisation workshop. We call out  the importance of developing skills from pre-school to pension age and beyond. That’s how you really build nations and regions.

We outline four big skills asks:

• Focusing first on young people,  from early years up to first job.
• Thinking about future skills and issues like demographics and technology, and positioning lifelong learning as the solution.
• Within  workplaces our purpose whatever our professional area should be about building wellbeing, engagement and resilience Calling for Leadership at all levels through dialogue, development and data.

The interim report is available now on the CIPD Scotland Web area. Across our regions and devolved administrations, CIPD will be a major player in helping us to rise above the rancour of every day politics and get to the heart of what really matters to an economy, developing people and organisations.

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