Scottish SMEs are suffering a skills drought » SMEInsider

Scottish SMEs are suffering a skills drought

Scottish Conservatives have said that the reduction of college places and low apprenticeship figures could be the reason for one out of three small businesses reporting a skills drought.

Research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reveals that one in three small Scottish businesses worry about the availability of skilled staff and that confidence is below the UK average.

According to the Scottish Conservatives, in the last eight years the SNP has reduced the number of college places, with 140,000 part-time places being removed and a 41 per cent drop in the number of students over 25.

Scotland is also falling behind in terms of apprenticeships – it only has 25,000 places compared to the 500,000 being offered in England.

The Scottish Government’s Digital Economy Business Survey has said that four out of every ten small businesses have ‘some skill gaps’, whilst 16 per cent have significant skill gaps.

Software, web development and digital marketing skills were the most frequently cited skills that were lacking.

“These statistics make for worrying reading as we need small businesses to help grow our economy and a skills shortage could significantly damage this. It’s also very significant that confidence lags behind the rest of the UK, suggesting that the Scottish Government really need to step up their efforts to ensure we catch-up,” said Scottish Conservative enterprise spokesman Murdo Fraser.