"We are seeing areas of huge potential growth, including in technology, engineering and childcare."
What a great time to begin a course at Fife College! Business turnover in Fife is on the up and we are seeing areas of huge potential growth.
With Brexit ever looming and the economy still recovering from the recession, there’s no denying that we are living in uncertain times. According to Fife Economy Partnership, Fife’s employment rate returned to pre-recession levels this year, and the region is still suffering from issues that limit economic growth including an ageing workforce, higher than average rates of youth unemployment and lower than average earnings and productivity.
Despite all of this however, the good news is that stats from Fife Economy Partnership reveal that business turnover is on the up and we are seeing areas of huge potential growth, including in technology, engineering and childcare. It is up to the Government, to education institutions and to industry to now pull together and ensure that as a region, Fife is developing these areas and retaining the skills we need to facilitate this growth.
The digital economy has seen rapid growth in recent years and according to a report from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, 1.2 million digitally skilled people will be needed by 2022, but current estimates suggest there won’t be enough skilled people to meet that growing digital demand.
That’s why computing and digital technologies is a key priority sector for us at Fife College. We, along with schools, universities and other colleges, have a responsibility to ensure that we are providing our workforce with the digital skills they need to succeed in the modern workplace as demand is set only to increase.
The UK is suffering from a chronic shortage of engineering skills and there is a sizable shortage in Scotland.
This represents a huge employment opportunity in Fife, but in order to bridge this gap we must encourage more young people to keep studying STEM subjects at school and better educate teachers and career advisers about the skills required to succeed in this field.
Colleges and universities must also work closely with employers, who need to plan for their workforce of the future, by assessing what skills they need.
The Scottish Government has pledged to increase the provision of free early learning and childcare provision to 1140 hours per year by 2020.
This has led to a huge increase in the provision of childcare for children and young people in Fife in order to meet this demand. This, in turn, means that there are greatly increased opportunities to work with children and young people in Fife, across Scotland and the rest of the UK.
To help meet the demands for new childcare professionals, we are working hard to promote the benefits of a career in childcare ensuring there are enough places available for our young people and mature students returning to education to gain the necessary qualifications they need. Extra places are available on our extremely popular HNC: Childhood Practice course, as well as on the new part-time HNC to meet the demand.
With the requirements of the modern workforce changing all the time and skills gaps emerging in areas including technology, engineering and childcare, we must ensure Fife’s future workforce is equipped with the necessary training and skills required to succeed in such areas. By upskilling our workforce for the future, we can ensure that youth unemployment reduces, productivity increases in the region and that Fife contributes significantly to Scotland’s growing economy.