I noted with interest the survey by the Association of Graduate Recruiters revealing that every graduate vacancy this year is attracting an average of 69 applications, compared with 49 last year and 31 in 2008, leading to growing graduate unemployment.
Scotland's graduate unemployment rate remains lower than the rest of the UK and, in an increasingly competitive marketplace, it is close working with employers, colleges and universities that will ensure we are able not only to fill the skills gaps in the market today, but also to forecast and fill the skills gaps of the future with individuals who have the appropriate qualifications, ensuring supply addresses increasing demand.
Skills development is vital to the productivity and sustainable economic growth of Scotland, and it is key to maintaining economic recovery and boosting growth. The Scottish Government has already identified seven "key sectors" in its economic strategy with high growth potential and all with considerable skill requirements.
The transformative power of skills to accelerate economic recovery cannot be prized highly enough, and we must continue to invest in a skilled workforce, giving employers the opportunity to access the relevant skills at the right time and in the right place.
Jacqui Hepburn, director, Alliance of Sector Skills Councils Scotland, Castle Street, Edinburgh.