Scotland Policy Conferences

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at, or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? Contact us at

Policy priorities for meeting Scotland’s skills needs and next steps for apprenticeships

Morning, Thursday, 26th August 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference takes place as policymakers and stakeholders focus on next steps for mitigating the impact of both the pandemic and Brexit on the Scottish labour market, as well as on the attraction of overseas talent to the country.

We are pleased to be able to include in the agenda a keynote session with Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training; Colin Lamb, Chief Explorer, Connect Three; as well as a senior speaker from Skills Development Scotland.

It will be an opportunity to discuss recently proposed measures from the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills for investment and support for workforce development and tackling skills gaps, as well the plans of the newly re-elected government for the first 100 days, including boosting youth employment and creating green jobs. 

Delegates will also consider reports from:

  • the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board on measures to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the labour market
  • the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery on the impact of learning loss during the pandemic

Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • immediate priorities - what is needed from skills development to help drive post-pandemic recovery in Scotland - including priorities for apprenticeships
  • jobs of the future - strategies for supporting the transition to net-zero, and preparing those entering the workforce with skills needed by the future Scottish economy
  • overseas talent - enabling skilled overseas labour to continue to contribute to Scotland’s economic resurgence, and the impact of the new immigration system on the labour market


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from The Scottish Government and the DWP. Also due to attend are representatives from Ability Post Production Academy; Al-Maktoum College of Higher Education; City of Edinburgh Council; Construction Industry Training Board; Dundee and Angus College; Energy & Utility Skills; Greenwood Academy; Highlands and Islands Airports; Hymans Robertson; North Highland College; Scottish Qualifications Authority; Scottish Social Services Council; Scottish Training Federation; Skills and Education Group Awards; Skills Training UK; The Data Lab; The Safety Assessment Federation; University of Glasgow; University of St Andrews and University of Strathclyde.

A press pass has been reserved by a representative from The National.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from business and industry leaders, human resources personnel, higher education institutes, skills platforms and training providers, local government, charities and youth outreach programs, science and technical centres, lawyers, school programme coordinators, researchers from academia and higher education, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Jamie Hepburn MSP

Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training

Keynote Speakers

Jamie Hepburn MSP

Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training

Colin Lamb

Chief Explorer, Connect Three

Chris Brodie

Director, Regional Skills Planning and Sector Development, Skills Development Scotland


Mrs Wendy Chamberlain MP

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip and Spokesperson for Scotland, Wales and Work and Pensions

Douglas Chapman MP

Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Small Business, Enterprise and Innovation)


Dr Matthew Barr

Lecturer in Computing Science, and Programme Director, Graduate Apprenticeship in Software Engineering, University of Glasgow

Dr Ken Thomson OBE

Principal, Forth Valley College of Further and Higher Education

Jon Buglass

Vice Principal, Innovation, Planning and Performance, Edinburgh College

John Stewart

Director of HR, SSE

Jamie Kerr

Partner, Burness Paull

Paul Campbell

Head of Learning and Organisational Development, Scottish Water

Marie Hendry

Depute Director for External Engagement and Partnerships, The Open University in Scotland

Alison Muckersie

Programme Lead, DDI Skills Gateway, City Region Deal, Data Driven Innovation Initiative, University of Edinburgh

Ian Hughes

Strategic Partnerships Director, Construction Industry Training Board

Dr Liz Cameron

Director, Scottish Chamber of Commerce

Councillor Altany Craik

Convener for Economy and Tourism, Member of the Strategic Planning and Transport Committee, Fife Council

Mike Park

Chief Executive, Scottish Whitefish Producers Association

Jennifer Phin

Managing Director, A.C. Whyte and Co