Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing visited the town’s James Jones sawmill on Monday and announced the new Skills Action Plan for Rural Scotland. It aims to address skill shortages, talent retention and attraction, and demographic challenges, through enhancing work-based learning and increasing access to education and skills provision.
Mr Ewing said: “Faced with the fast-paced changes occurring in our workforce, it is absolutely vital that we ensure people continue to have the skills required to enable them to develop and succeed in their working life. The more skills an individual can develop and retain, the more opportunities that person will enjoy in life. With the rural economy being a major source of growth, nurturing key sectors such as food and drink, energy and the creative industries, this new approach will help individuals to develop the skills required for jobs across rural Scotland – both now and in the future.
“By better understanding the skills requirements of rural businesses, we can seek to provide more tailored, accessible education and training that will help to upskill and retain people in rural areas, which is essential for the future sustainability of our rural communities and businesses.”
He was accompanied on the visit by Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn and the pair also visited the Barony campus in Dumfries.