Nicola Sturgeon to announce new £36m digital skills fund

Written by Jenni Davidson on 18 March 2017 in News

The Digital Growth Fund will offer loans to companies who want to develop the digital skills of their staff

Computer skills - Image credit: Kin Cheung/AP/Press Association Images

The First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will announce a new £36m digital skills fund in her speech to the SNP conference in Aberdeen this afternoon.

Digital skills has been identified as a significant need for Scotland’s workforce, with an estimated additional 12,800 skilled staff needed each year.

The Digital Growth Fund will offer loans to companies who want to develop the digital skills of their staff, supported by £36m funding over three years.


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It is expected to support up to 6,000 people to be trained in areas such as cyber security, data analytics and software engineering.

The First Minister will say: “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 upskilling Scotland’s workforce from the balance sheets of business, giving firms the freedom to invest in their staff and in their future.”

This follows the £15.6m to be reinvested in broadband rollout highlighted by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay yesterday.

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