The decision was confirmed by Henry McLeish, Enterprise and Lifelong Learning Minister, in an interim statement to Parliament on the outcome of the Executive's review of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. There had been pressure to remove what some critics saw as the "social remit" from bodies whose prime responsibility was to driveeconomic change.
But Mr McLeish has long advocated embedding lifelong learning and skills development in the enterprise agenda. He was therefore said to be anxious to reinforce that signal in his review of the enterprise agencies.
The review is expected to be in line with the framework for economic development unveiled last week which stresses the role of education as a "fundamental enabler". A "small business gateway" will provide support for a range of needs, including training.