In Scotland, we have identified that Life Sciences and Technology are two of six key industries for growth and productivity in our economy. There is an exceptional demand for ICT and digital technology professionals and across Europe the number of jobs is growing by more than 100,000 each year.
In order to take advantage of the opportunities Scotland is presented with, we must respond to the skills challenges that exist by ensuring both industry and education work together to give our young people the best start in life possible. After all, they are our future!
According to the Life Sciences Skills Investment Plan, there are a lot of Scottish life sciences employers who work in specialised or niche areas that struggle to recruit for the high demand of specialist skills and experience they need. Addressing these skills gaps in early careers will help build a better Scotland. Apprenticeships are becoming less of a taboo career choice for young people with government backing, educational institution awareness and the ever growing knowledge available to parents.
Technology and ICT is also a key growth sector for Scotland with the aim to have a world class digital nation by 2020. As mentioned in the Skills Investment Plan for ICT and Technology, there is an important role for digital skills in healthcare and science when storing, processing and analysing large amounts of information and data. Research and development can also be improved with new technologies.
There is an overall perception that careers in Life sciences and technology requires highly intellectual young people that attend university; however, apprenticeships offer young people the experience and employability skills they need combined with an important qualification. For example, Microsoft has partnered with QA Apprenticeships across the UK for their 10KinTech campaign. The campaign aims to recruit 2016 young people in IT and technology apprenticeships by 2016.
At Apprenticeships in Scotland we are advocates of apprenticeships and providing young people with employability skills. We employ our own young people via the Fife Council pilot Apprenticeship in Enterprise programme which provides young people the skills and entrepreneurial capacities to grow the business they are working for. Investing in young people is important for growth and innovation within businesses and it is important that industry work with educational providers to identify the skills gaps and work on these together.
 Skills Investment Plan – ICT, Digital Skills and Technology
Picture – Intuition.com