£36 million available to Scottish businesses to train staff in cyber security, data analytics and software engineering
A new £36 million Digital Growth Fund has been announced by the First Minister to provide loans to help businesses develop their digital skills.
The initiative is part of the Government’s drive to boost economic productivity.
Although recent figures show that Scotland’s productivity has grown by nearly 10% since 2007, while the rest of the UK’s has only grown by one-tenth of 1%, the lack of digital skills has been identified as a critical gap which holds back productivity and company profitability.
An estimated additional 12,800 digital skills roles are needed each year – a deficit the Government hopes to answer with the help of the Digital Growth Fund, which will provide loans to support up to a 6,000 people to be trained in each of the next three years.
The First Minister said: “Recent studies estimate that the economy needs 12,800 new workers with digital skills each year. Despite this, our last digital economy survey found that only around a quarter of businesses were doing anything to develop current employees’ digital technology skills.
“We need to change that. Scotland cannot afford to ignore this prize. That’s why we will now boost our support for digital skills.
“We will develop a new £36 million, three-year support fund to meet the upfront business costs of digital skills training. This will see up to 6,000 people per year able to access the training they need in key areas like software development, web design and digital marketing. It will also allow firms to use government funding to pay for the training their staff need, repaying the funding in later years.
“We will work with business to lift the upfront burden of up-skilling Scotland’s workforce from the balance sheets of business, giving firms the freedom to invest in their staff and in their future.”