New face offers skills support to businesses Jul 11 2018 | Skills Development Scotland

Employers looking for support in areas such as workforce development, training and recruitment have a new source of help in the North-east.

Corinne Blair has joined the Employer Engagement Team at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), working with SMEs across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Corinne joins SDS from Scottish Enterprise, and has a wealth of experience working with businesses across the region.

“At Scottish Enterprise I was an Organisation Development Specialist and worked with a lot of businesses in the Aberdeen area to support company growth,” she said.

“That didn’t just include businesses in oil and gas but in other sectors of the North-east economy which were growing, such as the food and drink sector.”

In her new role, Corinne is focused on helping SMEs identify and address their skills needs, helping them navigate the skills landscape, develop solutions and take advantage of available support.

She’s keen to see more employers make use of the Skills for Growth initiative, offered by SDS in partnership with Remarkable Scotland, offering up to three days’ business consultancy, helping an employer create a detailed people plan and guiding them to the right support.

Corinne said: “Skills for Growth is a brilliant tool. I used it a great deal when I was at Scottish Enterprise as it’s a great way for growing businesses to get a handle on where the skills gaps are at all levels of the organisation.

“It’s free of charge for the company and offers a real organisational overview. For businesses of between five and 250 employees its an excellent tool.”

Corinne is part of a dedicated team helping businesses across the North-east, alongside Roddy Innes, who also focuses on SMEs in North Aberdeenshire and Moray, and Amanda Mason, who offers support for bigger employers with more than 250 staff.

Together, they are helping businesses develop their approach to work-based learning, helping both new and existing employees develop their core skills and increase productivity.

Corinne said: “Work-based learning can help businesses take steps towards realising their growth ambitions in a number of ways.

“There are more than 80 types of Modern Apprenticeship available, offering on-the-job training for current or new employees that leads to an industry-approved qualification.

“We are also now developing Graduate Apprenticeships which mix academic learning up to Master’s Degree level with practical experience, helping employers find skills in areas which can be difficult to recruit.

“For employers looking to identify potential fresh talent, there’s also Foundation Apprenticeships which offer senior school pupils the chance to gain experience of the workplace and earn an industry-recognised qualification.

“SDS can help employers of all sizes work out what’s right for them, and I’m keen to hear from any business who would welcome support to get the skills they need to grow.”

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