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Business leaders from across Scotland heard about the skills needed for the future and the impact of a ‘fourth industrial revolution’.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Chief Executive Damien Yeates, spoke at the annual CBI Scotland event at Abertay University.

Damien said: “The unprecedented change driven by advances in technology and demographic shifts has the potential to reshape every aspect of society – particularly, the economy, work and skills."

“It is widely acknowledged that we are in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution – or Industrie 4.0 – and this is at the forefront of many leading economies and is a huge focus for our work at Skills Development Scotland.”

Damien Yeates, Chief Executive of Skills Development Scotland

Future jobs and industry - responding to the speed of change

SDS, in collaboration with the recently launched Centre for Work-based Learning, is working with education and industry to determine the skills needed to drive an innovative economy both now and in the future.

Damien discussed the impact of exponential change on the way we live and work, and the urgent need for businesses and the skills system to respond.

He said: “We need to develop the skills and capabilities to thrive in this environment of constant change.

“We also need to consider how we best make use of what makes us human in the first place – qualities such as empathy.

“And to drive our own change, rather than solely reacting to change, we need to continue to develop a creative and innovative workforce.

“OECD research has shown that high performing economies, high performing businesses and high performing individuals are bound together.

“To achieve a productive and innovative economy, businesses need to provide the right environment for individuals to fully use their skills.”

Many predict that some of the technical skills we use now are likely to become obsolete in the future.

Work based learning and apprenticeships will play a key role in a responsive and adaptive skills system to ensure Scottish businesses have the right individuals needed to drive innovation.

SDS has worked with industry, education and partners to develop the range of apprenticeship on offer to meet future skills demands.

Modern Apprenticeships provide offer employers with the opportunity to shape their own workforce with the skills they need for their business.

New Foundation Apprenticeships for pupils allow young people to start their work-based learning while still at school, giving employers the chance to tap into the skills pipeline early.

And Graduate Level Apprenticeships combine academic knowledge with skills development to enable participants to become more effective and productive in the workplace.

Want to know more?

The world is facing rapid, exponential change primarily driven by technological innovation. This is already impacting the way we live and work. We need to make these changes work for Scotland in order to drive an inclusive and productive economy.

SDS is working alongside the Centre for Work-based learning to:

  • Identify the skills that Scotland’s citizens need to thrive in this fast paced environment and to drive future change themselves
  • Determine how the skills system should respond to deliver these skills

Our aim is to drive cultural change and create a skilled Scottish workforce that's ready to face the future. Find out more:


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