Digital Start Fund to address Scotland’s digital skills shortage

digital start fund
© iStock/matthewleesdixon

The Scottish government has launched a new £1m (€1.13m) fund to equip unemployed and low income citizens with digital skills.

The Digital Start Fund is geared towards providing training grants to Scots without jobs or in precarious employment to enable them to retrain in digital sectors such as cybersecurity and software development. The fund includes provision for childcare and travel costs, where necessary.

Scotland’s Digital Economy Minister Kate Forbes said: “Businesses increasingly need digital skills and so it’s important that we ensure there is a pipeline of tech talent. This new fund recruits and trains people who are furthest from the job market and equips them with the skills which are most in demand right now. Technology is forecast to be the fastest growing sector in Scotland by 2024, but success is dependent on skills. This is a big opportunity not only for tech businesses, but also to future employees. I would encourage anyone who is keen to work in the tech sector to explore whether this opportunity can help them achieve their digital ambitions.”

Scotland is currently experiencing a skills gap in the digital and technology sectors, which it is hoped the Digital Start fund will contribute to repairing by encouraging increased uptake of digital training. Funding allocation will be overseen by national skills body Skills Development Scotland.

Neville Prentice, Service and Delivery Director at Skills Development Scotland, said: “Developing new pathways into the digital sector is crucial if we are to continue tackling the current skills shortage and help employers source the skills they need for growth and innovation. The Digital Start Fund is an important and exciting step in this respect, helping more people access the training they need to improve their digital skills and embark on a new career. Factor in other initiatives such as Developing Your Digital Workforce and the creation of the Digital Skills Partnership and you can clearly see we are doing all we can, in partnership with many others, to plug the skills gap and further enhance Scotland’s reputation as a global leader in this sector.”

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