A £36m fund “to meet the upfront costs of digital skills training” was announced by the First Minister today. Nicola Sturgeon told the SNP’s spring conference: “Key to our success will be digital skills.” The Digital Growth Fund will provide loans to support up to an estimated 6,000 people to be trained in each of the next three years.
The SNP leader said: “It is estimated that if we make better use of cloud technology and big data, the benefits to our economy could be over £5 billion a year. Recent studies estimate that we need more than 12,000 new workers with digital skills every year. And yet only a quarter of businesses report that they are doing anything at all to develop the technology skills of their current workforces.
“We need to change that. Scotland can’t afford to lose out on the digital revolution. So I can announce today that we will establish a new, three year, £36 million support fund to meet the upfront costs of digital skills training; helping business to invest in their staff and build our country’s future.”
The fund will provide loans to companies who want to develop the digital skills of their staff in areas such as cyber security, data analytics and software engineering as part of the Scottish Government’s drive to improve economic productivity.
A Scottish Government statement said: “The lack of digital skills has been identified as a critical gap that holds back productivity and company profitability, with an estimated additional 12,800 digital skills roles needed each year. In order to help support business in filling this skills gap the Digital Growth Fund will provide loans to support up to an estimated 6,000 people to be trained in each of the next three years.”