Harper Highlights Importance Of Rural Skills Development

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South Scotland MSP Emma Harper has highlighted the importance of continuing to improve and support rural skills development in the Scottish Parliament. 


Ms Harper asked the Rural Affairs Secretary what discussions have taken place with ministerial colleagues and rural businesses regarding action to improve and enhance rural skills development.


In particular, Ms Harper raised the importance of attracting and ensuring a professional agricultural, forestry and land-based workforce for the future.


The South Scotland MSP, who has engaged with and visited many Dumfries and Galloway rural businesses including Jas P Wilson and BSW Timber also recently highlighted opportunities in for employment in manufacturing for the region’s young people.


Employers like Alpha Solway, who have been crucial in the COVID pandemic for PPE manufacturing are already supporting apprenticeships. Ms Harper included the need for the Scottish Government to ensure that Skills Development Scotland work to promote manufacturing as a viable and positive career destination and to work to ensure resilience in Scotland’s supply chain.


Ms Harper has also engaged with NFU Scotland Policy Development Officer, George Jamieson, regarding NFUS’ report on rural education and skills. This report makes several recommendations, including the rollout of nationally accepted land-based qualifications, which equip the next generation of agricultural and forestry workers with the skills required to produce our nation’s food and to help tackle the global climate emergency.


Commenting, Ms Harper said:


“Over recent months, I have been working with local Dumfries and Galloway manufacturing, agricultural and land-based businesses and interested parties to promote the importance of attracting people to these sectors and to support resilience in Scotland’s manufacturing and food supply chains. This is crucial if we are to ensure a workforce for the future and if we are to play our part in tackling the global climate emergency.
“I was pleased to raise the need to continue to improve and attract people into Scotland’s land-based sectors, directly with the Cabinet Secretary. It was positive to hear that the Scottish Government is committed to a partnership approach to developing the skills and talent that is needed to ensure that Scotland’s rural economy and communities continue to flourish and grow and that the Government are proactively working with employers and these sectors.
“I have an upcoming meeting with the Minister for Further Education and Skills and NFU Scotland where I will be raising the case the Scottish Government to continue to support and promote the need for land-based skills and education qualifications, so we can have a professionalised and skilled workforce for the future.”

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