SCDI and British Council Scotland find 3 out of 4 businesses see Scotland behind on global skills
Finances and language skills found to be main barriers to studying and working abroad
Edinburgh, 23rd June 2014 – A study undertaken by Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) on behalf of British Council Scotland, ‘Scotland’s Future Workforce – Keeping Pace in the Global Skills Race?’ has found that most businesses think Scotland is in danger of being left behind by EU and emerging economies in acquiring the necessary global skills to compete in international markets. Educational institutions and young people were also surveyed by SCDI.
For young people in Scotland, finances and language skills were found to be the main barriers to studying and working abroad.
- 76% of businesses think Scotland is in danger of being left behind by emerging economies, while 67% think we are lagging behind the EU.
- Many young people hope to have international careers, but confidence is found to diminish in line with geographical distance from Scotland and unfamiliarity of emerging markets.
- The most attractive region for young people is Europe (89%), followed by North America (69%), Australasia (57%). China (35%), India (28%) and Russia (18%) are among the least attractive territories.
- For young people in Scotland, finances and language skills were found to be the main barriers to studying and working abroad.
- ‘Soft skills’ are highly prized, with the highest requirement for businesses, educational institutions and young people alike being the ability to work well with people from other parts of the world.
- Businesses and educational institutions need to work more closely and businesses should be taking a more active role in the education system.
- Young people want improved careers advice and more personalised advice about moving from education to employment.
Lloyd Anderson, Director, British Council Scotland, said:
“The SCDI report shows that there is a significant gap between the aspiration of many of Scotland’s young people to study and work internationally and the situation on the ground whereby we are not equipping those same young people with the necessary global skills to succeed. When it comes to global skills, it’s interesting to see that the most highly rated attribute is the ability to work well with people from other parts of the world.”
“It is encouraging that educational institutions and businesses alike agree that opportunities to spend time abroad are important, although young people say they are constrained by finances and the ability to speak foreign languages.”
“We hope this report will be a starting point for a new set of discussions on how we better prepare our young people and how we can make the take-up of these skills more accessible to all. As the survey suggests, part of the solution points to greater collaboration between our businesses and educational institutions in Scotland.”
Iain McTaggart, SCDI’s International Director, said:
“It is clear that the pace of globalisation, and the acceleration of global influences on Scotland’s economy, means that we all need to enhance our skills in order to compete. Scotland’s young people will play a vital role, as the future workforce, in ensuring our economy is outward-looking and globally connected.”
“This survey shows that, while there is much work to do in helping equip young people for the global challenges, there is already an acknowledgement amongst our businesses, education providers and young people themselves that tackling this issue is key to our future economic competitiveness. The positive news is that the business and education sectors appear eager to collaborate in maximising the potential of our skills base to meet the global opportunities.”