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Spreading the business benefits of Scotland’s budding digital success

Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC)’s Sustaining Growth, Supporting Business document sets out the key priorities for Scotland’s businesses over the next five years.

It forms the basis of SCC’s intended engagement with the next Scottish Government and makes calls to action to help Scotland’s businesses compete and deliver growth in our economy.

Scotland has made great strides in the digital skills agenda in recent years thanks to partnerships between the Scottish Government and agencies such as Skills Development Scotland, which has helped to boost the profile of advanced digital skills throughout Scotland.

With technological development occurring at so rapid a rate, and with shining examples of world class IT success stories like Fan Duel, Skyscanner, Craneware, Kotikan and Calnex, Scotland’s businesses need to be encouraged to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the digital sphere.  Equally, Scotland’s schools, colleges and universities must sustain the pressure to deliver the highly-skilled workforce that the growing technology sector requires for tomorrow’s hi-tech, economy. Crucially, this  includes instilling the know-how to put Scotland in the forefront of the UK’s £573bn-a-year ecommerce explosion.

Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

“When this year’s crop of school leavers began primary school, the iPhone still hadn’t been invented.  Today, 45% or ecommerce sales are made on mobile devices.  That in a nutshell is the pace of technological change. It presents Scotland’s businesses with great opportunities but also significant challenges.

“Young people today are living more of their lives online but that is no guarantee that they have the digital and technology skills to match the career opportunities that Scotland’s businesses should now be offering.  In addition, too many people in general lack core IT skills and access to superfast broadband.  Reskilling and workplace learning opportunities must be made available to all to ensure that digital skills are available at all entry points to the workforce.

“Teachers from primary school upwards need to be suitably trained to deliver the digital skills that Scotland’s young people require from an early age.  Core digital skills such as coding must be taught at primary school if young people are to be equipped with the transferable skills to take part in a fast-changing technological environment.

“Ingraining these skills at an early stage will help encourage gender balance in the vital science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.  Such skills are becoming increasingly needed to access good careers. Without a more STEM-enabled workforce, Scotland cannot hope to compete in the 21st Century economy. ”