The chief executive of the food and drink sector skills council has told the Scottish government and industry to step up on skills or forget about a “Tartan Tiger” economy.
Speaking at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry’s Influencers’ Dinner in Edinburgh, Jack Matthews, also chair of Scotland’s Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, called for a “universal currency” for recognising and rewarding achievement.
“I consider that at this moment we have more of the building blocks available to us in Scotland than at any time for a generation, because of our history of investment in education and learning,” said Matthews. “The fact that the pieces of the jigsaw are all there may be true in principle, but they are not fitted together. Where is the recognition of employer delivered training? Where is the public funding for accumulative, unit-based programmes? Why are private sector employers not beating a path to use the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework and have their training recognised?”
He called for more emphasis on practical skills and challenged the Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework and the Scottish Qualifications Authority to simplify the accreditation process so in-house training programmes could be recognised and integrated with full qualifications. He also called on Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council to commit to funding new unit-based programmes and also make funding available for accredited in-house training.
“I believe we must have the courage, politically, professionally and economically to take the next step,” he said. “We should be able to capitalise and lead the UK, if not the world, in growth of skills levels and competency of our workforce. We should have the highest levels of productivity and entrepreneurialism, the highest levels of employment and talent retention, if we are to become a veritable “Tartan Tiger” of an economy.”