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11/03/14 09:30

£6.6m for digital Scotland

£6.6m for digital Scotland: £6.6m for digital Scotland

First Minister announces funding to attract up to 11,000 jobs.

Scotland’s digital technologies sector will benefit from £6.6 million to boost its internationally renowned reputation for cutting-edge expertise, the First Minister Alex Salmond announced today (Tuesday 11 March, 2014).

The funding will support digital skills and address actions set out in the information and communications technology (ICT) and digital technologies Skills Investment Plan, which was also published today by the First Minister, on a visit to officially open the new Edinburgh premises of CodeBase, Scotland largest digital incubator company.

The announcement comes during Make Young People Your Business Week which focuses on promoting the digital technologies sector as a career option to a younger audience while celebrating Scottish successes in the industry.

The plan includes actions such as:
• Responding to the immediate skills shortage by developing an industry led talent academy model in summer 2014 to support the demand of up to 11,000 jobs per year
• Offering more opportunities to increase female participation in the digital sector
• Aligning education systems to employers need and supporting employer engagement with schools
• Delivering 750 work placements for FE/HE students by 2016

Scotland’s ICT and digital technologies sectors deliver £3 billion to the Scottish economy and currently employs 73,000 digital technology professionals. There is huge global demand for Scottish expertise and talent in this sector and today’s announcement will help maintain Scotland’s position as a key player in the global arena.

The Skills Investment Plan (SIP) found that there is an increased global demand for high level digital technology skills.

Officially opening CodeBase, the First Minister said:

“Scotland is at the forefront of digital technology, with skills and expertise that is internationally recognised as among the best in the sector.

“It is estimated that the industry is worth over £3 billion to the Scottish economy, and employs 73,000 ICT and digital technologies professionals across all sectors. But we need to ensure continued investment in this highly skilled workforce and that is why today I announce a further £6.6 million to support the sector, develop skills and deliver actions set out in the Skills Investment Plan.

“ICT and digital technologies are a key driver of economic growth. However, despite growing demand for skills the number of young people within the sector has not kept pace. That is why today’s funding announcement along with the publication of the Skills Development Plan is so important, particularly during Make Young People Your Business Week.

“The Scottish Government believes there is even further untapped potential in our digital sector and we want Scotland to become a world-leading digital nation by 2020.”

John McClelland, Chair of Skills Development Scotland said:

“There is an unprecedented demand for ICT and digital technology professionals and across Europe the number of jobs is growing by more than 100,000 each year. We need to make sure that Scotland is well placed to be able to take advantage of this growth.

“The Skills Investment Plan sets out a vision for Scotland to be viewed as a world-class location for ambitious ICT and digital technology businesses to be able to develop, invest and grow by having access to a talent pool with exceptional skills.

“To achieve this ambition we have worked with the industry to identify the key actions which need to be undertaken to support the growth ambition of the ICT and digital technologies sector.”

Jamie Coleman, managing director of CodeBase, said:

"My new venture CodeBase aims to bring together the fastest growing tech companies with new opportunities for training, employment, business startup and entrepreneurship. The sheer scale of company growth has given me the confidence to take on the huge space in Argyle House. This is testament to the wit, ingenuity and raw talent in Scotland and we aim to be the largest and most successful incubator in Europe."

Gerry Docherty, Chair of the ICT and Digital Technologies Skills Group and Chief Executive of Smarter Grid Solutions said:

“I welcome the significant support from the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland articulated in the Skills Development Plan. With ever-increasing growth in demand worldwide, our digital technology companies offer exciting and rewarding career prospects. We must encourage a greater flow of talent into this sector, to maximise its impact on Scotland’s export performance, and on the efficiency and competitiveness of the Scottish economy as a whole."

Polly Purvis, CEO of ScotlandIS said:

"At ScotlandIS we very much welcome the Skills Investment Plan. Access to skilled staff is the key challenge faced by Scotland’s digital technologies industry, holding back growth and limiting the industry’s contribution to the Scottish economy. The Skills Investment Plan is the culmination of many months of hard work, and provides a clear framework for action to address skills development at all levels – from school, through modern apprenticeships and college to university and beyond. ScotlandIS will work closely with our members, Skills Development Scotland and other stakeholders to develop and deliver the plan; enabling the growth of local companies, boosting the Scottish economy and bringing exciting opportunities to our young people."

Phil Worms, Director of Communications, iomart Group plc

“Today’s ICT Skills Investment Plan launch is to be warmly welcomed and is not a day too soon. We’re at the start of the second industrial revolution but this one is not on the ground it’s in the cloud. It is essential that Scotland’s businesses, not just those in the IT sector, have access to a highly skilled workforce if we are to compete in today’s global digital economy. For a country which, through its inventors and creativity, has led the world in so many technological advancements, Scotland has found itself lagging behind other nations and it was essential that this trend was halted. The launch of the ICT SIP is a very positive first step towards redressing this situation and will prove vital to our economic and social wellbeing over the next few years.”

Notes to editors

To read the ICT SIP, visit: www.ourskillsforce.co.uk/

For more information on CodeBase, please visit: www.thisiscodebase.com

The Scottish Government delivered 25,691 modern apprenticeship starts 2012/13. This has produced achievement rates of above 65% since 2007/08 in the face of challenging economic circumstances –achievements rates at 77% in 2012/13.

In line with the recommendations from the Wood Commission on the Development Scotland’s Young Workforce we are committed to increasing the number of Higher Level Apprenticeships, particularly for STEM related area.

There has been a year on year increase in the uptake of the Information Technology Professional (ITP) Modern Apprenticeships. In 2013/14 Skills Development Scotland will fund approximately 600 contracted IT places. This is up from 468 in 2012/13 and 344 in 2011/12
Recent evidence from the ICAEW, Bank of Scotland, Scottish Chambers of Commerce and commercial property advisers Cushman & Wakefield indicate that the referendum is not affecting confidence.

The ICAEW/Grant Thornton UK business confidence monitor published on March 5, 2014 gave Scotland a +38 score which is slightly above the UK average of +37.2, and up near 10 points from +28.5 in the last three months of last year.

In February 2014, the BOS Scotland Purchasing Managers' Index Report showed record levels of business confidence and Scotland. The figures also indicated private sector output expanded for the 17th consecutive month in February. The PMI survey also reported the fastest rise in employment in the survey’s 16-year history, as well as an expansion in new orders in both the services and manufacturing sectors.

Make Young People Your Business Week runs from March 10-14 and will include the following events:
• March 10 Minister for Youth Employment meets BT digital apprentices in Glasgow
• March 10 Minister for Children and Young People meets pupils learning coding at Glasgow Science Centre
• March 11 First Minister visits CodeBase
• March 12 Minister for Youth Employment attends IT workshop at Royal High School hosted by Oracle
• March 13 Minister for Youth Employments Microsoft MA ambassadors in Edinburgh
• March 14 Minister for Learning visits Oxgangs Primary School, Edinburgh.
To follow Make Young People Your Business Week on twitter, use #DigiSkills

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£6.6m for digital Scotland

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