Skills Development Scotland has announced the appointment of former Cisco Scotland Director Donald McLaughlin as chair of the Digital Technologies Skills Group. 

Donald will lead this strategic group who are responsible for advising on the Digital Technologies Skills Investment Plan actions and resources to enable Scotland to reach its full potential in the digital technologies sector.

Scotland’s digital technology is one of Scotland’s fastest-growing sectors, forecast to grow twice as fast as the Scottish economy overall by 2024.  McLaughlin’s appointment comes at a time when there is an unprecedented demand for digital skills.  The former Cisco Scotland Director has served as member of the board for over a year and brings with him nearly 30 years experience in the global technology sector.

Improving recognition of digital skills

Claire Gillespie, sector skills manager for digital technologies skills at Skills Development Scotland said: “Donald McLaughlin is a passionate advocate for digital skills and is ideally placed to carry on the great work of the digital technology skills group as chair. Scotland has up to 12,800 tech job opportunities annually and through the work of the group and the digital skills funding provided by the Scottish Government, we are confident that Scotland’s potential in the digital technology economy will flourish in the years to come.”

As chair of the digital technologies skills group, McLaughlin will draw on his experience of membership on several industry boards relating to skills and technology and his years at the forefront of the IT sector in the UK. A key priority for the group is to improve the visibility and recognition of digital skills by reinforcing the need for skills not just in the tech sector but in the wider Scottish economy.

“Disrupt or be disrupted”

Commenting on his appointment: “Disrupt or be disrupted.  We are in the midst of what is being called the fourth industrial revolution. We need to make sure every level of society is included and equipped with the relevant digital skills to thrive in a world which is changing at an unprecedented rate.  From school children learning to code, to older people having access to the internet, digital inclusion is important and vital to Scotland’s economy.”

McLaughlin further commented: “We have incredibly talented people in Scotland and we need to ensure we create the right environment for them to flourish and drive forward successful and sustainable companies.  We have seen the start of initiatives like CodeClan and the Digital Xtra Fund to encourage untapped digital talent into the sector.  Importantly, we need to change the perception of tech and attract more women into the digital technology sector.”

“Scotland has a long tradition for innovation.  I believe Scotland can be and should be a world leader in digital tech but to achieve this we must ensure the relevant digital skills are here in Scotland.  I am honoured and delighted to be leading the skills group and look forward to working closely with the Scottish Government and industry to drive forward investment and mindshare, delivering on the skills required by industry in Scotland.”