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Review of enterprise and skills agencies

Published: 31 May 2016 16:48
Part of:
Economy

Economy Secretary sets out priorities in first debate

A review of Scotland's enterprise and skills agencies will be taken forward as an early priority, Economy Secretary Keith Brown said today.

As one of his first actions as Economy Secretary, Mr Brown announced that he would chair a review group looking at roles, responsibilities and relationships of enterprise, development and skills agencies. He said:

"Our agencies provide a crucial role in supporting businesses, developing the skills the economy needs and supporting development opportunities.

"And as the First Minister announced last week, we want to build on these successes.

"One of the ways we'll do this is by carrying out an end-to-end review of the roles, responsibilities and relationships of our enterprise, development and skills agencies.

"The review will consider how best to deliver and enhance the services and functions those bodies currently provide or need to provide in the future, to meet the needs of those engaging with the bodies, as well as to deliver on Ministerial ambitions – particularly in relation to productivity.

"I will lead this review, drawing in a wide range of expertise and evidence from both public and private sector, and set out more detail in due course."

Mr Brown also said that later this week he will visit Aberdeen with the Minister for Business, Innovation and Enterprise Paul Wheelhouse to meet representatives from across the oil and gas sector.

He added:

"Weak global growth, low oil prices and a high exchange rate have combined to present a challenging economic environment - and in particular, for our oil and gas industry and its supply chain.

"These are global trends affecting countries around the world and Scotland is not immune.

"The impact of these pressures has been felt most acutely in the production sector, particularly in the North East of Scotland where the Oil and Gas sector has had to respond by restructuring and with redundancies.

"That is why supporting the sector and the North East is one of my key priorities. And it is why I'm going to Aberdeen on Friday to meet representatives from across the oil and gas industry, where I will underline our on-going commitment and support for the sector and the economy and communities of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire."

During his opening statement, Mr Brown also confirmed that the Scotland CAN DO forum will take forward three pilot projects looking at key areas of innovation.

These will look at how to scale up digital businesses focused in Edinburgh, a Glasgow based project on innovation and manufacturing excellence and a pilot looking at digital care systems in the health and care services of the Highlands and Islands.

Mr Brown said:

"It is vital that we do all we can to support innovative companies and ideas.

"We will continue to invest in our innovation centres, and through initiatives such as Interface, which bring businesses and academics together to collaborate, and to develop new ideas and products in some of the key growth sectors of the future.

"We will build on this by launching an annual Innovation Prize, and by inviting the Council of Economic Advisers and the CAN DO Forum to propose specific actions to boost productivity through innovation.

"The Forum is also taking forward three pilot projects looking at key areas of innovation - digital businesses in Edinburgh, innovation and manufacturing in Glasgow and digital care systems in the health services of the Highlands and Islands."

Notes to editors

The full statement is available online here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/content/default.aspx?NewsAreaId=139

The First Minister announced last week that:

"Over the summer, we will also carry out an end-to-end review of the roles, responsibilities and relationships of our enterprise, development and skills agencies, covering the full functions of Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Island's Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council, to ensure that all of our public agencies are delivering the joined up support that our young people, universities, colleges and businesses need."

Full speech is here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/Speeches-Briefings/Priorities-speech-Taking-Scotland-Forward-24f8.aspx

More information about Scotland CAN DO http://www.cando.scot/about/