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Scotland Eyes ‘Digital World’ With 150,000 Jobs Boost

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Scottish government launches new digital strategy and reveals plans to boost number of digital jobs

The Scottish government has outlined its plans to realise that country’s full potential in the Digital World with the creation of thousands of new jobs associated with the digital industries.

The ambitious intention by the Scottish government is to create 150,000 digital jobs in the next four years (2021), in an effort to place digital at the “heart of everything it does”.

This apparently includes reforming public services and delivering economic growth.Forth Bridge Railway Scotland © Rob van Esch Shutterstock

Skills Shortage

The Scottish Government says that it hopes to create 150,000 digital jobs by effectively creating the right conditions for this to happen.

To this end, it will ensure that every premise in Scotland is able to access broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps by 2021.

But speedy Internet access is just one of its priorities.

It also plans a new digital schools programme, as well as a new round of funding for community digital inclusion projects and an expansion of Scotland’s Digital Participation Charter.

Another priority is to ensure that infrastructure that is secure and resilient against cyber attack.

And finally a new Digital Growth Fund is to be created to address the “current undersupply of digital skills”. Cyber security skills most notably are in short supply in the UK.

“Digital is transforming the way we live,” explained Derek Mackay, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Constitution. “It is connecting us faster than ever before while putting more power into the hands of service users.

“There is a huge opportunity here and now to ensure that people, businesses and organisations across Scotland, are given the tools and skills they need to harness this potential,” he said. “Our vision is for Scotland to become even more digitally competitive and attractive.”

“By developing our existing workforce and increasing our digital capabilities across society and the business community, we will ensure that our citizens have the opportunity to improve their digital skills with everyone who wants to get connected able to do so, and public services designed by and for citizens that are secure,” he added. “This will in turn will have a positive impact on growing our economy.”

Digital Scotland

The launch of the digital strategy by the Scottish government comes amid growing tensions between it and Westminster over Brexit.

The SNP Scottish government is seeking another referendum on Scottish independence over the matter.

And the SNP is pressing ahead with its own digital agenda. In 2014 it launched a digital procurement initiative to help smaller businesses bid for public sector contracts.

It also revealed that Scotland would get its own country code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) after a deal with International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

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