Digital EconomySkills and Careers

Building a High Performance Scottish Skills and Jobs Ecosystem

Action Plan to build a nationwide digital skills strategy for boosting employment in Scotland.

The ultimate goal of our Digital Skills initiative is a system that creates high quality learning resources that lead to equally high quality work opportunities for Scots.

‘Ecosystem’ models are an approach for designing a system that features multiple collaborating organizations.

This approach is required rather than it being addressed through one single organization or web site as ultimately the needs of users are met through this combined set of services.

This is especially so when you consider the overall journeys taken by users as they develop and fulfill their career, featuring learning providers, recruitment sites et al.

Micro-credentials and Route to Work Pathways

As described in the previous article ‘micro-credentials’ are an ideal tool for supporting this agenda. They support breaking down employment skills into bite-sized chunks that are more easily accessible to learners and more directly applicable to work opportunities.

They are an especially apt approach when the objective is helping people into work, as often many jobs don’t require a whole general degree but much rather favour a particular skill specific to the role.

For example Brewdog created an online academy for it’s employees to gain new work-specific skill qualifications, and Alzheimer Scotland a virtual academy for their carers. Rather than academic qualifications these are entirely workplace-specific and an immediate relevance to possible job opportunities.

Technology is also an industry where specific credentials lead to specific work, such as Mike becoming a certified Web Accessibility Specialist. It’s also present across the public sector, like Business Gateway requiring workshop trainers to have a recognized credentials such as an IIP Practitioner or Professional Trainers Certificate.

Individual credentials can form the component parts of an overall learning journey and career pathway, forming well defined ‘Routes to Work’, such as CodeClan explaining the career pathways for data analysts following graduation. E-Sgoil runs webinars sharing insights on career pathways.

Action Plan

The goal of the Action Plan is to scale this approach nationally, developing a single micro-credentials framework that is shared across Scotland’s skills and employment organizations, implemented through key activities including:

  1. Work with employers to develop their own curriculum of workplace skills e-learning, which generate micro-credential Digital Badges, and collaboratively develop Route to Work pathways.
  2. Provide user tools for them to own, display and share their digital badges, such as mobile wallets and across social media profiles.
  3. Provide tools to recruitment portals to enable resume sections to display badges, and enable employers to search on these criteria. Directly launched job sites with this functionality to accelerate it’s uptake.


Editor of On a mission to build a world leading Scottish digital nation.

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