Boosting Scotland’s “high value” fintech and technology sectors will be at the heart of a programme launched to attract more skilled workers from the rest of the UK.

An industry advisory group has been formed by the Scottish Government to address the skills shortage and give native businesses the resources they need to compete on a global scale.

The new team of experts, chaired by business minister Ivan McKee, met for the first time this week.

They will help inform the new scheme to recruit and retain workers, particularly in “priority growth sectors” including life sciences, renewables, and the space sector.

Mr McKee said: “Scotland needs to attract more working age people to meet the needs of key sectors, to raise competitiveness and to ensure the workforce continues to be a positive factor in inward investment.

“This Industry Advisory Group will explore how best to shape a talent attraction programme which can expand Scotland’s talent pool at all levels, to give employers the skills pipeline needed to take advantage of opportunities, and ultimately benefit our economy.

“To become a competitive career destination, Scotland must match the efforts of other countries with similar challenges and ensure that we offer a high quality service of co-ordinated support to attract and retain workers and their families.”

It comes after a new national strategy for economic transformation was unveiled by the Scottish Government last month, which makes closing the skills gap a ‘priority action’.

The new initiative also supports a programme for government commitment to develop a ‘talent attraction and migration service’ designed to attract skilled workers and help them to make Scotland their home.

Gordon McGuinness, director of industry and enterprise at Skills Development Scotland (SDS), said: “An inclusive, resilient and skilled talent pool is central to Scotland meeting its economic ambitions, and SDS is committed to working with businesses so they can develop the workforce required to drive innovation, entrepreneurial thinking and productivity.

“The needs of business must lie at the heart of this approach. This new group will make an important contribution to enhancing partnership working and creating a talent attraction programme that strengthens and complements the existing skills support available through SDS and its partners.”