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Developing a digital leadership pathway
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Developing a digital leadership pathway 

The Scottish Digital Academy provides high quality professional learning and training to develop digital skills to support transformation and service design across the public and third sectors in Scotland. We have a focus on building capability and nurturing talent across the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) profession as well as for those seeking to upskill or reskill in relation to these themes.

We recently completed our Strategic Business Plan 2025 which sets out our aim and thematic priorities for the next few years and I wrote about this in a recent post Scottish Digital Academy – Strategic Business Plan.

Developing digital leadership capacity and capability is at the heart of our plan as we recognise that it exists across all job roles and grades. Leaders in the widest sense understand that people are the drivers and agents of change and that empowerment and coaching is crucial in creating the conditions for transformation.

The Scottish Digital Academy will strengthen our leadership offer with a focus on building knowledge and confidence and in developing a learning ethos based on trust, honesty, challenge and support; promoting the growth of professional capital and an awareness of agile practices.

We will do this by working towards five objectives:

• We will work across the system to develop a new digital leadership pathway.
• We will refresh the Digital Champions programme with a focus on leaders leading transformation.
• We will design and deliver a new awareness level digital leadership programme.
• We will support transformation by growing and enhancing our agile coaching service.
• We will provide access to thought leadership and seminars on matters related to digital skills, professional learning and training.

The Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review (2020) identifies education and talent as being one of three fundamental supporting areas upon which the performance of Scotland’s tech ecosystem depends. We support the development and enhancement of digital leadership and culture and the need to adapt our leadership styles at all job levels, championing change and building a culture of empowerment.

Progression and choice for those aspiring towards a leadership role as well as those currently working or leading teams is an essential element in providing people with the confidence and skills that will lead to empowerment.

Our progression routes (Figure 1) will be aligned to the DDaT Profession Capability Framework, which describes the job roles and skills needed to work at various levels.

• An awareness skill level programme that offers sustained learning over a period of time, for those aspiring towards a leadership role with a focus on digital, data and technology.
• A working level skills course for current leaders with a focus on how they as individuals can support the principles of agile working across their team.
• A practitioner level skills course for senior leaders with a focus on recognising and empowering teams, with emphasis on practical tools that can be used to support service design and delivery.
• An expert level programme for senior leaders, where they need to understand organisational delivery across complex and emergent environments with a focus on supporting transformation.

Figure 1: An illustration of the Scottish Digital Academy Digital Leadership Pathway/Supplied

I’ll provide regular updates on our progress over the coming months, but in the meantime please follow us on Twitter @ScotGovSDA for the latest news or reach out to us via email digitalacademy@gov.scot and someone from the team will get back to you.

You can also follow my own Twitter account for news and updates @OfficialLeeDunn.

  • Lee Dunn is head of the Scottish Digital Academy, Digital Directorate.

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