The North-east’s biggest educational establishments have joined forces with some of Scotland’s leading digital training providers in an effort to boost the region’s digital capabilities. The Future Skills Partnership, which is being spearheaded by Opportunity North East (ONE), will help the region keep pace with the country’s other major cities in digital maturity and adoption.
The University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and North East Scotland College have partnered with Code Clan, The Data Lab and Skills Development Scotland to launch a web portal providing individuals looking to further their digital education with a single source for information and advice on all the courses available.
Jared Owen, director of digital and entrepreneurship at ONE, said: “The purpose of the Future Skills Partnership is to is to provide access to the latest in digital learning and education to people across the region who we know will benefit from expanding their digital skillset.
“ONE and its partners have a clear ambition to accelerate economic diversification and support sustainable economic growth. Driving digital adoption and maturity is a key part of this and the web portal is a great way of helping everyone – people and organisations – across our key sectors access the resources to do this.
“The region has led the way in terms of energy for many decades, and the pace of digital transformation within that sector in particular is accelerating. This presents us with a tremendous opportunity to enhance the existing skills base in the region to support the energy transition, as well as other industries as they embrace the digital future.”
Allison Carrington, skills planning lead (North-east) at Skills Development Scotland, added: “We have seen other areas of the country welcome digital with open arms, and while there are some companies in the region doing their bit, it is vital people and businesses don’t get left behind. There is a proud history of innovation in the area, and that is something we are looking to harness with a new generation.
“The range of courses on offer across a variety of industries underlines the fact there is a wealth of opportunities in digital, as highlighted by our successful Digital World website and our national ‘digital human’ campaign, which are available to everyone from those in their final years at school, to people pondering a career change or those with skills and experience they wish to update and apply in a new setting.”
While people receive first-class training from providers in the public and private sector, the Future Skills Partnership believes more needs to be done to keep those skills in the region and have found there is a growing demand for upskilling the workforce from individuals and industry.
Jared Owen added: “The North-east of Scotland has consistently been one of the most productive parts of the UK and we firmly believe increasing the digital capabilities of people in the region will help retain the top talent required for sustainable, high value jobs.
“We want people to get with the programme and develop skills that will not only improve their own skillset, but potentially bring new investment to the North-east. People know they need to either build on the skills they already have or develop new ones but are unsure where and how to do this. The Future Skills Partnership can provide them with everything they need to be competitive in today’s fast-moving digital world.”
Neil Cowie, principal of North East Scotland College (NESCol), said: “Collaboration will be essential to the social and economic recovery of the region and NESCol is committed to playing a central role in valuable partnership work. The Future Skills Partnership supports the college’s digital ambitions and we see exciting opportunities in the sector, catering for demand for a constantly evolving range of courses in the digital sphere. We look forward to working together with partners to ensure the region has a workforce equipped to meet the needs of industry.”
Principal at RGU, Professor Steve Olivier, said: “In an ever-increasing digital landscape, data and digital skills play an important part of the growth and development of the regional economy. Addressing the need for these skills has been a focus of RGU for a number of years.
“RGU’s long track record of working collaboratively with partners in industry and business contributed to the university recently being named as Scottish University of the Year. We are fully committed to providing education, training and upskilling in critical areas, such as digital, through access to a relevant and demand-led curriculum designed to respond to the skills needs of individuals and workforces.”
The collaboration has brought together further education and strategic training establishments to help organisations and individuals scale up in terms of their abilities. The web portal covers all types of courses available, from those suitable to school leavers, to someone looking to complete a master’s and can be found at futureskillspartnership.com