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More than 100 business leaders and academics from as far a field as Malaysia and San Francisco descended on Glasgow on Wednesday (1 November 2017) to hear about the future of work and skills.

The “Thriving In The Workplace of the Future” symposium, organised by SDS and the Centre for Work-based Learning (CWBL), was opened by CWBL director David Coyne who welcomed delegates and set the scene for the day

Participants then heard from a diverse group of experts from a range of organisations, including the CIPD, IBM and the British Council, about:

  • the need for agility and adaptability both at a business and individual level
  • the importance of multi cultural fluency and global connections
  • the drive to find new innovative ways of learning
  • the vital role emotional intelligence has to play in the work place

Following the launch of a new video at the symposium about high performance workplaces and individuals, attendees considered what lessons could be learned to maximise skills development, debated how Scotland’s skills system needs to respond, and discussed how best to share good practice both nationally and internationally.

As well as round table discussions and wider networking opportunities, participants also got the chance to see how technology can enhance training by taking a virtual tour of an oil rig courtesy of Robert Gordon’s University.

“Scotland is way further down the track than any other country when talking about this vital area, and that is thanks to SDS, Scottish Enterprise and the CWBL”

Peter Cheese, CIPD

Closing the day, SDS chief executive Damien Yeates talked about how work based learning can support Scotland’s economic growth plans. “Scotland has great ambitions to be among the best performing economies in Europe,” he said.

“We believe that work-based learning, and the associated skills enhancement, link directly to increased productivity and inclusive growth, and that in turn leads to both economic and personal well-being.”

David Coyne from CWBL added: “We believe the Centre for Work-based Learning can play a significant part in growing Scotland’s economy by showcasing best practice, and driving real impactful change as a result.”

Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD and one of the keynote speakers, said it was one of the best events of its kind, and applauded Scotland for taking the lead on having the conversation about skills for the future.

“Scotland is way further down the track than any other country when talking about this vital area, and that is thanks to SDS, Scottish Enterprise and the CWBL,” he enthused.  

CWBL works in partnership to influence policy, practice and the perception of work focused education, and aligns its work with the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board which was also represented at the event.  

SDS’s international symposium is just one of the ways in which the national skills agency has been influencing thinking around Scotland's future work and future skills.


We will be publishing the presentations, videos, audio and other collateral relating to the event here and on the CWBL website, so watch this space!

Meanwhile, watch the video launched at the symposium about Scotland's young innovators.



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