Bespoke online skills programme locator
Employers in Scotland will now be able to join their counterparts in the rest of the UK to find the education and training programmes that best suit the needs of their business and staff.
A new initiative - talentmap - was launched in Edinburgh last week by the Scottish Government and the UK Commission for Employment and Skills. It is supported by the four UK administrations, and the Scottish Government has invested pound;260,000 to help develop it over three years.
Dubbed a "talent google", Chris Humphries, chief executive of the UKCES, said it was designed to help employers navigate quickly through the maze of education, employment and skills programmes throughout the UK, instead of having to search the web and be confronted with "15,300 responses".
It consists of a framework to help employers think of the different ways in which they can develop their employees through five simple pointers - developing people, finding new people, improving performance, engaging with education and supporting their industrial sector.
Once they have decided what they want, employers will be able to use the new web tool to search for support. State-of-the-art technology will allow talentmap to roam through education, employment and skills-related sites (100 to begin with) to make sure the most relevant information is returned to the user.
The aim is "to help employers improve their performance by developing the talent and skills of the workforce", says Paul McKelvie, talentmap's head of engagement, who founded Scottish Power Learning 14 years ago.
Keith Brown, Scottish Minister for Skills and Lifelong Learning, who was at the launch to endorse the initiative, said it was the latest move to strengthen the hand of employers "so that we all emerge stronger from the economic downturn".
Willy Roe, chair of Skills Development Scotland, which is also behind the plans, said there were different issues to be faced in Scotland compared with England. The population south of the border is set to grow by 10 million over the next 25 years, while that of Scotland will not grow at all - highlighting the need to develop native talent.