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A fresh start for skills

We would like to take this opportunity to welcome the new session of the Scottish Parliament and in particular the intake of 48 new MSPs.

As the body responsible for representing the interests of employers in the skills system, we recognise that the need for the delivery of a skilled workforce is more vital than ever. We are pleased, therefore, to note that a recent CBI survey highlighted that more employers plan to increase investment in training during the coming year - 41 per cent compared to only 14 per cent last year, with over half (55 per cent) already involved in apprenticeships and 17 per cent saying they will become involved in the next few years.

In order to deliver sustainable economic growth it is imperative that the right skills are available to employers, in the right place and at the right time, and that this is reflected in the future policies implemented.

By being able to understand the skills requirements of the workforce, both today and in the future, we are able to work with schools, universities, colleges and training providers to ensure there is the right supply of skills to meet the demand required and plug the skills gaps.

The acknowledgment of the importance of a skilled workforce by the political parties during the election campaign is to be welcomed, and we look forward to working with the new Scottish Government in taking this ambition forward.

Jacqui Hepburn, Director, Alliance of Sector Skills Councils in Scotland, Edinburgh.

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