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Skills and lifelong learning

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Scotland’s education and skills system is vital to future prosperity and inclusive economic growth. Our universities and colleges are key to delivering the education, skills, research and innovation that support the changing needs of industry and of our economy and society.

We are working with Scottish Government and key partners to understand and respond to the current and prospective skills needs of individuals, industries and regions. Our approach is to empower colleges and universities to respond with maximum flexibility to high quality learning and skills provision needs, and to further stimulate the investment in skills by both individuals and employers.

In October 2018 the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board published its strategic plan setting out a priority for Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and SFC to align provision with industry needs and critical skills as set out in the demand evidence. Our review of coherent provision, published in June 2021, set out a refreshed approach to skills alignment that takes account of the substantially different policy framework now in place. For SFC skills alignment is about creating the right environment for institutions to plan strategically for this complexity and to work together with partners to deliver a more coherent, responsive and effective system for current and future students, for the skills needs of employers and for wider social and economic goals.

Our investments aim to ensure Scotland’s colleges, universities and specialist institutions form part of a successful, coherent education and skills system. We seek to increase the responsiveness of our institutions to improve outcomes for learners, employers, and the economy by shaping and implementing skills policy that contributes to economic recovery, supports the transition to Net Zero, and meets future skills needs.

Current guidance

University Upskilling Fund Guidance AY 2023-24

College Foundation Apprenticeship places AY 2023-24

Entrepreneurial Campus Strategy

Scotland’s National Strategy for Economic Transformation was published in March 2022. It sets out how, over the next ten years, Scotland aims to deliver economic growth to make the country more prosperous, more productive and more internationally competitive.

The Entrepreneurial Campus Strategy maximises the role universities can have in supporting entrepreneurial activity and producing the next generation of Scottish entrepreneurs.

SFC Strategic Plan 2022-27

Building a connected, agile, sustainable tertiary education and research system for Scotland.

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