Sandy Begbie: We have a significant challenge to meet growing skills gaps

Ensuring as many young people as possible are in education, training or work is not just vital for their future, it is vital for Scotland’s economic future too.
SFE's CEO Sandy BegbieSFE's CEO Sandy Begbie
SFE's CEO Sandy Begbie

In Scotland’s financial services sector, for instance, we have a significant challenge to meet growing skills gaps. Scottish Financial Enterprise estimates the industry may need to fill as many as 50,000 key vacancies over the next three years, many of them in technology growth areas like data analysis, cyber security and software development.

These aren’t the types of roles that young people typically associate with a career in financial services, but as the industry continues to change, filling these types of vacancies will be critical to our future growth and success. Supporting young people from all backgrounds to pursue these opportunities is vital to maintain Scotland’s position as one of Europe’s premier financial centres.

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The Young Person’s Guarantee is already doing great work. But it is clear there is more to be done.

That is why Scottish Financial Enterprise recently launched its Skills Action Plan. This will help ensure we are identifying the right skills businesses need, that pathways into work are streamlined and that diversity and inclusion are at the very heart of recruitment. To help facilitate this, we are creating a new Financial Services Skills and Inclusion Hub, which will bring together industry, higher, further and secondary education to ensure people are developing the skills the Scottish economy needs.

We are also rebranding and relaunching our sector-wide Unified Schools Programme, making sure we are inspiring young people from every background about the different career opportunities the industry has to offer. This action will complement the work of government programs such as the Young Person’s Guarantee, helping to make sure that Scotland’s workforce – both the young, and the not so young – have the skills they need to face the future with confidence.

Sandy Begbie is the chair of Developing the Young Workforce, and chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise



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