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Associate feature: Recovery needs empowered, enterprising graduates

Associate feature: Recovery needs empowered, enterprising graduates

On 23 October 2019, skills minister Jamie Hepburn outlined the Future Skills Action Plan to business leaders at Edinburgh Napier Business School. It aimed to prepare those working or looking to retrain for changes anticipated in the economy. Technological advances such as AI, robotics and Big Data were converging with societal shifts such as sustainability and the circular economy to create ‘Industry 4.0’.

Then came Covid-19.

The economic impact has concentrated a decade’s evolution of the workplace into a matter of months. Scotland’s economic recovery will need the new skills anticipated last October, but also wider access to skills for young people, support for those in sectors devastated by the pandemic, and flexible ways for those in work to upskill or retrain.

The response has seen the Scottish Government commit £60m towards actions recommended in the Higgin’s Report; which called for a ‘robust, resilient, wellbeing economy that will prioritise an education-led recovery’.

Edinburgh Napier has a focus on precisely this type of applied knowledge, as last year’s event demonstrated. That focus has driven curriculum innovations and, during lockdown, our association with Scottish Enterprise and Scottish tourism saw our Destination Leadership Programme alumni develop strategies to help the sector refocus and revitalise around enhanced skill sets. From this September, our undergraduate students all participate in a unique Employment Skills Programme that will evidence valued skills such as creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking. And, as the Youth Guarantee focused on moving young people into good jobs, we announced the expansion of our Graduate Apprenticeship programme - adding nearly 200 places.

This focus on applied learning, which makes a positive difference to the communities in which we work, was recognised this summer with Edinburgh Napier named the number one modern university in Scotland (Sunday Times), and first in Edinburgh for student satisfaction (NSS).

We know that recovery will need empowered, enterprising graduates: Edinburgh Napier Business School is committed to playing our part.

Professor Paul Barron, Head of Tourism, Hospitality, Events and Festival Management, Edinburgh Napier University

This piece was sponsored by Edinburgh Napier University

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