£36 million to improve cyber security and other digital skills in the private sector

A dedicated fund of £36 million is to be set up by the Scottish Government to help companies train staff in cyber security and other digital skills.

The new growth fund aims to provide loans to firms wishing to develop the talents of employees in the areas of security, data analytics and software engineering.

The three-year initiative is part of the Scottish Government’s drive to improve economic productivity. Research has shown that a lack of digital skills has been a critical factor in holding back productivity and company profitability. It’s estimated that at least an additional 12,800 digital skills roles are needed each year.

Scotland to launch new £36million fund to improve digital skills

In order to help support business in filling this skills gap the Digital Growth Fund will provide loans to support up to an estimated 6,000 people to be trained in each of the next three years.

“Recent studies estimate that the economy needs 12,800 new workers with digital skills each year. Despite this, our last digital economy survey found that only around a quarter of businesses were doing anything to develop current employees’ digital technology skills,” said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

“We need to change that. Scotland cannot afford to ignore this prize. That’s why we will now boost our support for digital skills.

“We will develop a new £36 million, three-year support fund to meet the upfront business costs of digital skills training. This will see up to 6,000 people per year able to access the training they need in key areas like software development, web design and digital marketing. It will also allow firms to use government funding to pay for the training their staff need, repaying the funding in later years.

“We will work with business to lift the upfront burden of upskilling Scotland’s workforce from the balance sheets of business, giving firms the freedom to invest in their staff and in their future.”

One of the UK’s leading authorities on cyber security, counter-terrorism, self-defence and reputation protection welcomed the move.

‘Anything that promotes companies to train their staff on the very real dangers of cyber security should be applauded,” said Simon Leila, Director of 360 Defence.

“It’s estimated 2.9 million firms, around 52 percent of UK businesses, were victims of cyber-crime last year costing £29.1 billion.

“Businesses of all sizes need to take responsibility for assessing the risks and protecting their customers and assets. Anything that makes it easier and affordable for firms to do just that has got to be a step in the right direction”