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Donald McLaughlin, the former director of network giant Cisco, has been appointed chair of the Digital Technologies Skills Group.

He brings 30 years of experience in the global technology sector, and has in the past been a member of several industry boards relating to skills and technology, and has served as a board member of the Digital Technologies Skills Group for over a year.

The group is responsible for advising on the Digital Technologies Skills Investment Plan which was created to enable Scotland to reach its full potential in the rapidly evolving digital technologies sector.

McLaughlin’s appointment comes as the demand for digital skills grows to new levels. Digital technology is one of Scotland’s fastest-growing sectors, forecast to grow twice as fast as the Scottish economy overall by 2024.

Claire Gillespie, sector manager for digital technologies at Skills Development Scotland said: “Donald McLaughlin is a passionate advocate for digital skills and is ideally placed to carry on the great work of the group as chair.

“Scotland’s technology sectors have nearly 13,000 job opportunities annually. Through the work of the group and the digital skills funding provided by the Scottish Government, we are confident that Scotland’s potential in the digital technology economy will flourish in the years to come.”

McLaughlin himself said: “We are in the midst of what is being called the fourth industrial revolution. We need to disrupt or be disrupted. We have to make sure every level of society is included and equipped with the relevant digital skills to thrive in a world which is changing at an unprecedented rate. From school children learning to code, to older people having access to the internet, digital inclusion is a vital part Scotland’s economy.”

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