Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training is set to spell out the skills vision for Scotland in her opening address to attendees at the CIPD Scotland Annual Conference, which opens on Thursday 3 March 2016.

The Cabinet Secretary’s opening address at the two-day event in Edinburgh will discuss the importance of performance, resilience, technology and innovation in achieving organisational success. She will be joined on stage by Dr. John McGurk, head of Scotland for the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development, who will discuss the opportunity for the HR profession to build productivity and prosperity within the Scottish economy and ensure a skilled future for Scotland.

Ahead of the conference, the CIPD is today launching Opportunity through work: A manifesto for Scotland; a policy programme to champion better work and working lives. The manifesto celebrates the diverse and dynamic nature of Scotland’s economy while also recognising the challenges that lie ahead. In order to build a sustainable economy and ensure greater inclusion in the labour market, the CIPD’s manifesto calls on the Government to:

  • Boost productivity and skills utilisation throughout the Scottish labour market – by encouraging more workplace development and investment in skills
  • Strengthen initiatives which enable young people to succeed in the labour market – through high-quality apprenticeships and building stronger relationships between education and business
  • Develop a supportive and sustainable welfare system which helps to include everyone in the world of work - by tackling inactive and discouraged workers through the development of a four-tiered approach to inclusion in the labour market
  • Encourage greater diversity in the workplace – by using ‘blind’ shortlists to ensure that issues of ethnicity, race and class are not barriers to participation and accelerate the proportion of women on Scottish corporate boards and public agencies
  • Protect the lowest paid in society – by continuing to pursue the National Living Wage, link future increases in the National Minimum Wage more explicitly to the changing rate of inflation and provide greater rights and job security for flexible workers

Dr John McGurk, head of CIPD Scotland, comments: “Scotland has long been known for its ingenuity and enterprise but the slowdown in North Sea operations, increased inactivity in the labour market and the need to rebuild our infrastructure means we’ve reached a pivotal moment that will define Scotland’s future success. The key economic challenge facing the next Scottish Government will be to help create the conditions needed for sustained productivity growth, as it’s only through this that we’re likely to see sustained growth in the economy and in incomes. This has to start with a strong focus on skills; attracting, retaining and developing talent will ultimately enable Scotland to really compete on a global stage. We’re delighted to launch our Manifesto for Scotland and look forward to welcoming Scotland’s HR and learning and development professionals to our annual conference where we’ll explore the vital role of people in business productivity.”

The CIPD Scotland Annual Conference will take place on 3-4 March 2016 at The Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from key speakers including:

  • Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training
  • Matthew Syed, bestselling author of Bounce and Black Box Thinking
  • Elaine Arden, Chief HR Officer, RBS
  • Hugh Mitchell, chief HR officer, Royal Dutch Shell plc
  • Mark Stevenson, bestselling author of An Optimist's Tour of the Future and We Do Things Differently

Attendees will also have the opportunity to:

  • Hear the latest on employment legislation and case law that will impact employers in Scotland
  • Meet with over 25 suppliers of HR and L&D products in the Scotland Conference Annual Exhibition, co-located in the Assembly Rooms and open to all conference attendees on both days of the conference
  • Attend the CIPD Scotland Annual Conference Gala Dinner – a black-tie, high-profile networking event with entertainment (places must be booked in advance)


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At the CIPD, we champion better work and working lives. We help organisations to thrive by focusing on their people, supporting economies and society for the future. We lead debate as the voice for everyone wanting a better world of work.