Universities Scotland responds to the Scottish Government’s Enterprise and Skills Review

We have been pleased to respond to a call for evidence from Economy Secretary Keith Brown MSP, as part of the end-to-end review of enterprise and skills support in Scotland that he is leading.

Scotland’s 19 higher education institutions are committed to delivering impact in Scotland and the wider world and want to work as partners with government and public agencies to deliver inclusive and sustainable growth.

In summary, our submission outlines the following key points:

  • The key outcome of this review would be a single vision across all agencies, clear goals and the right set of measures and shared ownership across key stakeholders for delivering on them.
  •  We have identified areas for refreshed strategic focus and enhanced collaboration to drive economic development in Scotland which are:

1.       Working in partnership to explore effective means of significantly increasing the opportunities for Scottish businesses to access talent in universities (our graduates, researchers or to upskill staff.

2.       Better coordination schemes and investment to open up a broader range of innovation, including CPD and consultancy services, to a larger cohort of companies.

3.       Placing the strengths of Scottish HEIs as central to winning major capital and inward investment.

  •  We see scope to ‘de-clutter’ the skills and enterprise landscape to improve the functioning of the system.
  •   There is a strong need for an non-departmental public body to fund higher education.

Our response should be viewed in the context of these key points:

  •  We welcome that the review is focused on improving Scotland’s productivity and wellbeing performance and have offered thoughts on how, working together, there are significant opportunities to deliver strengthened economic outcomes.
  •  There is an important role for HEIs to play in co-creating the future environment and delivering stronger outcomes because:

1.       Scotland’s universities are a key economic sector in their own right, a ‘user’ of the system, and make a major contribution across the four ‘I’s of the Economic Strategy.

2.        HEIs are inherently ‘user focussed’ in engaging with industry to develop curriculum development, shape research, and guide our ongoing efforts to improve innovation performance. We work partnership with students in quality enhancement and have done so for more than a decade.

3.       As a sector we work with all four agencies involved and believe there is a strong foundation from which to build.

4.       Universities deliver a wide range of benefits to Scotland, and the wider world, and can demonstrate impact across economic, social, cultural, health, public policy, quality of life and the environmental outcomes.

Read Universities Scotland’s submission in full

Read the Scottish Government’s call for evidence here.