Monday, 29 May 2017

Building a Local Government Associates Framework – Improvement Service Information Events

The Improvement Service is commissioning an Associates Framework to support change programmes in councils and community planning partnerships (CPPs).

We are now planning two information events to give out more information about the framework and the types of skills, knowledge and experience we'll be looking for. The events will take place in Edinburgh on 15 June 2017 and Glasgow on 21 June 2017.

The purpose of the framework is to provide access to a wide range of expert support and resources to help the IS, CPPs and councils progress work where they need extra capacity on a flexible basis. The framework agreement is being set up by the IS for use by the IS and all 32 local authorities.

Examples of the types of skills we are seeking are:

  • Change Management consultancy support
  • Continuous Improvement support
  • Digital Transformation Support
  • Political Leadership
  • Organisational Development
  • Policy, Strategy, Development and Delivery - advice and support
  • Economics
  • Research, Data, Evidence and Evaluation

The IS will be issuing an Invitation to Tender (ITT) in the near future. The events are for those who are considering responding to the ITT. However, specific information about the ITT will not be discussed at these events.

If you are interested in attending either of the events, you can sign up at:

Source: Improvement Service

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Record High for Foreign Investment in Scotland

BBC News - Scotland won a record number of investments from overseas in 2016, although growth was substantially lower than the previous year.

There were 122 foreign direct investment deals done over the course of last year, up from 119 in 2015.

The EY Scotland Attractiveness Survey showed Scotland was the second most popular part of the UK to invest in behind London.

This is the fifth year in a row that the country has been in that position.

However, Scotland won a smaller share of overseas investment in 2016 than previously, with 10.7% of deals coming north of the border compared with 11.2% in 2015.

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Scotland grew by 2.5% in 2016 - lower than the 7% increase recorded across the UK for that year and significantly down from 2015 when investment in Scotland grew by 51%.

'Halo effect'

Mark Harvey, EY's senior partner in Scotland, said a "halo effect" from events such as the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup may have resulted in "abnormally high" levels of investment in 2015.

Scotland's share of the jobs created from overseas investment last year was half what it was in 2015, with 6% of UK posts created by foreign companies' investment in Scotland compared with 12.7% in 2015.

Deals involving overseas firms created fewer jobs per project, with the average falling from 45 positions in 2015 to 24 the following year.

Three Scottish cities were in the UK's top 10 for attracting FDI in 2016, according to the research, with Glasgow fifth after a 27% increase in the number of such projects in 2016.

Edinburgh fell three places in the list to sixth but Aberdeen went from 10th to seventh place.

'Attractive destination'

Mr Harvey said: "Scotland's attractiveness in the eyes of investors is more in line with previous years.
"In 2015 it was perhaps abnormally high as a result of the 'halo effect' from high-profile events held in 2014, including the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup.

"Insight from investors indicates there may be a shift towards more London-centric investment in the future, which suggests Scotland needs to take action to ensure it secures a healthy share of FDI into the UK.

"Scotland has firmly secured its position as an attractive destination for FDI in the UK, with a further increase of projects from the record-breaking surge of inward investment in 2015."

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: "For the second year in a row we have attracted more projects than ever before - with 2016 up 2.5% on 2015's previous record - and Scotland has been the top UK region outside London in every one of the past five years.

"We enjoy resources few nations can match, including one of the most highly-educated work-forces in Europe, a long-standing reputation for innovation and an internationally-regarded brand.

"Today's attractiveness survey indicates these assets continue to be recognised on the world stage, with a substantial number of projects from the US, France and Germany.

"In fact, more than one in 50 of the investment projects across the whole of Europe are located in Scotland."

Source: BBC News

UK Social Enterprises Post Almost £1bn in Profits

Third Force News - UK social enterprises made almost £1 billion in profit last year.

The latest NatWest SE100 data report for UK social enterprises has revealed 57% of social enterprises reported growth in their turnover last year.
It suggests the sector is undergoing a period of impressive expansion, with average year-on-year growth coming in at 61%.

The report is the biggest analysis of growth, profitability and employment with UK social enterprises. It is based on the 2,120 members of the NatWest SE100, who had a combined turnover of £8.5bn last year.

Social enterprises on the NatWest SE100 Index reported a combined total of £934 million in profit, with a significant proportion of this profit used to further their social or environmental goals.

The report found  the country’s leading social enterprises are growing at a phenomenal rate with average year-on-year growth within the 100 fastest growing enterprises of 932%.

It also suggests that as social enterprises mature, they can grow into multi-million pound ventures. 

The average turnover of enterprises under three years old on the Index is £634,000 whilst the average turnover of enterprises which are ten years old or more is £8m.  

Mark Parsons, head of community finance and social enterprise at Royal Bank of Scotland, said: 

“The NatWest SE100 report reveals a social enterprise sector which is growing in both strength and maturity.

“As social enterprises continue to make a sustainable social impact to both disadvantaged and marginalised groups, they should feel buoyed by the positive news that year on year growth in turnover for established enterprises was 61%, whilst the Index also reveals social enterprises grow as they mature.

“Although the latest NatWest SE100 Index has revealed positive trends for the sector, it is only when you take a closer look at the inspirational work social enterprises delivers, that the true impact of the sector can be appreciated.”

The NatWest SE100 report also reveals trends from the sector across the UK, with the South West of England demonstrating the highest growth, whilst London hosts the highest proportion of social enterprises from the Index, with the largest total turnover of £2.3bn.

Geetha Rabindrakumar, head of social sector engagement at Big Society Capital, said: “It’s encouraging to see the overall growth in social enterprise across all regions of the UK. The use of social investment has grown over this last year and we hope that social investors will play an increasingly important role in supporting the growth and resilience of social enterprises of all sizes in future.”

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Newsflash! Strathclyde Business School and Melting Pot Edinburgh Speakers to Present Workplace Innovation Case Studies, 30/5 - Book Today!

Expert Seminar to Demonstrate 'What Works' in Workplace Innovation and How to Support New Workplace Practices 

A learning workshop from the Economic Development Association Scotland and the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, 2pm - .4.30pm, 30 May 2017, SUII Centre, University of Strathclyde. 

A workplace innovation expert from Strathclyde Business School and the founder of the Melting Pot co-working centre in Edinburgh will speak at a unique event exploring the benefits of new workplace practices for businesses, employees and wider society in Scotland. 

Also featuring speakers from Scottish Enterprise and Oxfam Scotland, this event will highlight case studies of workplace innovation in practice, as well as exploring how economic development practitioners can support initiatives to improve workforce engagement, harness employee potential, and embed co-working and fair work practices in businesses throughout Scotland. See full information and speaker list below and reserve your place today

Dr Colin Linsday of Strathclyde Business School will talk about 'what works' in workplace innovation, drawing upon a recent collaborative research project on this topic. He will give insight into various examples of workplace innovation in Scotland, and share a video of employers talking about their experiences of workplace innovation. Dr Lindsay has been researching and teaching on employability, skills, public management and social policy for more than fifteen years, and is a contributing author to Workplace Innovation in Small to Medium Sized Enterprises in Scotland (2015).

Claire Carpenter
 is founder and managing director of The Melting Pot co-working centre in Edinburgh. Claire will discuss The Melting Pot as a case study of work-space innovation, and how the creation of a co-working space has helped organisations and social entrepreneurs share knowledge and develop their businesses. This talk will give insight into the Melting Pot, the Co-Working Accelerator Network, and the difference these projects are making to the social enterprise community more broadly.

Other speakers at this event are: Clare Alexander, Head of Workplace Innovation, Scottish Enterprise; Francis Stuart, Research and Policy Adviser, Oxfam Scotland; and (Event Chair) Charlie Woods, Director, SUII & Vice-Char, EDAS. See full information below. 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Scottish Unemployment Falls Below UK Rate

BBC - Unemployment in Scotland has fallen by 14,000 in the three months to March to reach 120,000, official figures have shown.

It takes the jobless rate to 4.4% - below the rate of 4.6% for the whole of the UK.
The labour market statistics also show that employment in Scotland increased by 5,000 and now stands at 2,620,000.

In the UK as a whole, the unemployment rate is at its lowest level in 42 years.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the Scottish employment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points over the quarter to 74%. The rate is below the UK average of 74.8%.

In April 2017, the number of people out of work and claiming Jobseeker's Allowance was 48,200. 

The claimant count, including Universal Credit, was 80,000.

The Scottish government said the ONS figures also showed a strong performance for Scotland in the female labour market, with the unemployment rate for women falling by 0.7 percentage points over the year to 4.2%.

The youth employment rate was 3.9 percentage points higher than the previous year, with the level rising by 15,000.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: "Today's statistics show that Scotland's labour market continues to perform well in the face of significant economic challenges.

"Unemployment is down, employment is up and Scotland's youth unemployment rate is the fourth lowest in the EU. This is welcome news.

"We will work to support employment and our priority remains developing the correct conditions for economic growth, including through taking forward our multi-billion pound infrastructure plan, and the Scottish Growth Scheme."

Mr Brown added that the Scottish government would continue to tackle issues around inactivity in the labour market.

Source: BBC News

Scottish Chambers of Commerce Opens Trade Office in China

BBC - Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) has officially opened a new international trade office in Yantai, China.

The announcement came during a trade mission to China involving business leaders from across Scotland.

SCC said a recent Chinese policy of opening up to new overseas alliances presented "a myriad of opportunities" for Scottish businesses.

It added there was potential to sell goods and services which Chinese firms and consumers wanted and needed.

The trade mission saw SCC hold meetings with senior business people, politicians and local government officials, as well as "think tanks" in Beijing, Yantai and Jinan in the eastern province of Shandong.

The Scottish delegation was led by SCC's new president, Tim Allan, and chief executive Liz Cameron.

During the visit, SCC signed a memorandum of understanding for "trade engagement and partnership" with senior officials from the Yantai municipal government.

'Exploratory visit'

Ms Cameron said: "This exploratory visit is part of the new partnership which was formed between Scottish business, through our extensive chamber network, and the Scottish government to utilise the worldwide connectivity of the business community.

"We now have a deeper understanding of how we can achieve the best exchange for business, where the opportunities exist for Scottish organisations and how we can best pursue these.

"We have also identified several potential opportunities for inward investment into Scotland and will be working with Scottish government and SDI as well as other trade organisations to explore these and leverage the momentum of change within China."

She added: "Our next steps will be to undertake a deep-dive of companies based in Scotland who have products, skills and expertise which have the potential to be exported to the Shandong Province area.

"Our aim is to add impetus to the Scottish economy by assisting companies who have not previously thought about exporting to grasp the potential that international trade offers."

'Key sectors'

According to SCC, Shandong Province represents the third largest economy in China, with a population of nearly 100 million.

Key sectors it has identified as being of interest to Scottish businesses include robotics, bioscience, manufacturing, engineering and smart technologies, agriculture, food and drink and football management.

SCC said there were also opportunities in consumer goods, recreation and tourism services, financial and professional services and education.

SCC intends to return to the province later this year to "explore new ways to foster co-operation between the two countries".

Source: BBC News

Friday, 12 May 2017

Newsflash! The Scottish Economy's Workplace Innovation Opportunity

The Opportunities of Workplace Innovation for the Scottish Economy 

A learning workshop from the Economic Development Association Scotland and the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, 2pm - .4.30pm, 30 May 2017, SUII Centre, University of Strathclyde. 

The Head of Workplace Innovation at Scottish Enterprise is to deliver a talk on the opportunities of innovative workplace practices for organisations in Scotland.

The workplace is facing unprecedented change as we transition from industrialism to the digital revolution. New and diverse ways of how and where we work are being made possible by new technologies, at a time when quality of work and equity in the workplace are rising on the policy agenda.
Clare will talk about the development of initiatives to drive progressive and creative practices of workplace innovation in Scotland and the role of policy levers in embedding these. An expert in the growing field of "workplace innovation", Clare leads SE's Workplace Innovation support service - encouraging businesses to make the most of more diverse, engaged and talented workforces and fair and responsible business practices. 

In this unique learning and networking opportunity for economic development practitioners and public, private and third sector organisations, Clare will  be joined by speakers from the Scottish Universities Insight Institute, Strathclyde Business SchoolOxfam Scotland, and case studies of workplace innovation in practice. Please see full information and speaker list below.

Workplace Innovation in Scotland

This learning workshop is delivered by the Scottish Universities Insight Institute and the Economic Development Association Scotland. All those with an interest in economic development, the labour market, skills utilisation, human resources, or learning about how their organisation could benefit from innovative workplace practices are encouraged to attend.

Event Details

Tuesday 30 May, 2 - 4.30pm
SUII Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Refreshments provided
£25 + VAT EDAS Member / £50 + VAT Non-Members [Join to gain member rate]


This event explores the Scottish approach to workplace innovation - what the concept means; the potential benefits for organisations and employees; how workplace transformation can help achieve economic and social policy goals; and the policy levers available in Scotland to take advantage of the transition to the workplace of the 21st century.

According to a recent research project supported by SUII, collaborative workplace innovation can improve business/organisational outcomes, benefit individuals, and help improve competitiveness while tackling inequality. Such practices are of great interest at the international level and to the Scottish Government.

EDAS and SUII invite you to join expert speakers, practitioners and case study presenters to learn about how we can all support workplace innovation to the benefit of Scotland's economy and society. Don't miss out on this chance to learn about this important topic and network with members of the economic development community 

Confirmed Speakers

Charlie Woods, Director, SUII & Vice-Chair, EDAS
Introduction and Overview of Workplace Innovation.

Clare Alexander, Head of Workplace Innovation, Scottish Enterprise 
The Scottish policy approach, and opportunities and challenges of workplace innovation for business.

Dr Colin Lindsay, Reader in Human Resource Management, Strathclyde Business School
'What works' in workplace innovation: lessons from the SUII-supported programme Progressive and creative practice for workplace innovation.

Francis Stuart, Research and Policy Adviser, Oxfam Scotland 
Workforce and societal benefits of workplace innovation - findings emerging from the Oxfam - University of the West of Scotland - University of Warwick research project on Decent Work in Scotland.
Case study presentations to be announced shortly. 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

£43m announced for low-carbon infrastructure projects

Scottish Government - Details of how more than £43 million is being invested in low-carbon infrastructure were announced today by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Shared across 13 projects throughout Scotland, this investment represents one of the largest direct energy investments in the last 10 years. The funding, awarded by the Low Carbon Infrastructure 

Transition Programme (LCITP), will be matched by a minimum of £43 million from private and public sector partners.

Projects include an innovative local energy system on Fair Isle, an energy storage project in Shetland, low-carbon heat networks in Dundee, Stirling, Clydebank and Glenrothes and the installation of a heat pump on the River Clyde to serve the Gorbals area.

Speaking at the All Energy Conference in Glasgow, the First Minister said:

“These projects have great potential to help us tackle climate change, and remain at the forefront of low carbon and renewable innovation. They will also bring economic benefits – in terms of savings and jobs – to local areas across the country.

“Scotland has some of the most ambitious emissions reduction targets in the world. Over the past 10 years, our pattern of energy consumption has changed considerably, helping us to meet – and exceed – our 2020 target for reducing energy consumption, six years early.

“We are determined to build on this success, and we are now seeking views on a new target through our draft Energy Strategy – for 50% of our energy consumption – spanning heat, transport and electricity – to be met by renewables by 2030.

“With Scotland’s world-leading expertise in renewables, which employs at least 11,000 people, and a growing workforce of at least 58,000 in the low carbon sector, I am confident of our future success.”
Dave Pearson, Director at Star Renewable Energy, added:

“Star has been trying to replicate the success of its river heat pump in Norway for some time but has struggled to progress a similar example in Scotland.

“The support provided by the Scottish Government through the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme has recognised both the technical and commercial potential of our project in Glasgow’s Gorbals.

“The programme is providing excellent support in placing a high temperature river heat pump – the largest in the UK – at the Clyde to supply clean, low carbon heat to buildings in the Gorbals, helping us to collectively work to significantly reduce CO2 emissions in Scotland.”


The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme is a collaborative partnership led by the 
Scottish Government, working with Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish 

Futures Trust and Resource Efficient Scotland. It focuses on the acceleration of low carbon infrastructure projects across public, private and community sectors, helping them to create investment business cases and secure capital finance from public and private sources. The programme is supported by the European Regional Development Fund.

The full list of projects is available on the LCITP website.

The consultation on the draft Energy Strategy is open until 30 May.

Report of EDAS & SDI's Internationalisation Learning Workshop on Exporting Now Available

On Friday 31st March 2017, internationalisation experts from the Scottish Government, local authorities, academia, social enterprise and the private sector gathered to discuss strategies and support for growing the global aspirations of businesses and organisations in Scotland.

This report gives the ‘story’of the day, including social media interaction and presentations for download:

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

EDAS / SUII Event: Workplace Innovation in Scotland, 30 May 2017

A learning workshop from the Economic Development Association Scotland and the Scottish Universities Insight Institute

Tuesday 30 May, 2.30 – 4pm
SUII Centre, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow
Refreshments provided
£25 + VAT EDAS Member / £50 + VAT Non-Members [Join to gain member rate]

This event explores the Scottish approach to workplace innovation – what the concept means; the potential benefits for organisations and employees; how workplace transformation can help achieve economic and social policy goals; and the policy levers available in Scotland to aid the transition to the workplace of the 21st century.
According to a recent research project supported by SUII, collaborative workplace innovation can improve business/organisational outcomes, benefit individuals, and help improve competitiveness while tackling inequality. Such practices are of great interest at the international level and to the Scottish Government.
EDAS and SUII invite you to join expert speakers, practitioners and case study presenters to learn about how we can all support workplace innovation to the benefit of Scotland’s economy and society. Don’t miss out on this chance to learn about this important topic and network with members of the economic development community from across sectors!

Charlie Woods, Director, SUII & Vice-Char, EDAS
Introduction and Overview of Workplace Innovation.
Clare Alexander, Head of Workplace Innovation, Scottish Enterprise 
The Scottish policy approach and enterprise benefits of workplace innovation.
Dr Colin Lindsay, Reader in Human Resource Management, Strathclyde Business School
'What works' in workplace innovation: lessons from the SUII-supported programme Progressive and creative practice for workplace innovation
Further speakers and case study presentations to be announced shortly. 

SCVO Local Funding Survey Highlights Long-Term Funding Issues for Third Sector

SCVO - In this report, we demonstrate the many difficulties and intricacies of local funding for much of the third sector. Most of the funding issues faced by the sector arise whatever type of funding the organisation is seeking: grant funding, a service level agreement, or a contract. Similarly, these issues arise for organisations regardless of whether they are working with local authorities, health boards, or other local or regional public funders. Read full article and report here.

When it comes to local funding from public bodies, the sector suffers from short term, small pots of money, with long-term funding in the minority; this can have real impacts for individuals and communities. The sector still does not always get the support it needs, and funding processes and monitoring can still seem unduly long and burdensome. There is some good practice across Scotland – showing that there is a better way to operate – and this needs to be the norm rather than the exception.

In brief:
  • If the funding situation for the sector continues as at present, much of the sector will be unable to continue its work – leading to a loss for communities and individuals across Scotland and beyond.
  • All local and regional bodies must improve their processes and their funding systems so that the third sector can function to the best of the ability, delivering the aims that its organisations exist for.
  • Currently, much time and energy is expended by organisations on seeking funding to stay afloat. This is time that could be better spent on achieving an organisation’s aims – delivering for communities – were money not an issue.
  • Much funding does not allow for long-term projects or planning, meaning regular stress and upheaval for organisations, communities and individuals.
  • It is not, generally, large pots of money that are required, but rather a change in funding terms and processes – including recognising full projects costs and core costs. Supportive staff at funder organisations can also help here.


Funding processes
  1. More must continue to be done to simplify all application and bidding processes wherever possible. Forms and processes should be standardised wherever appropriate.
  2. Full support should always be available to applicants to help them through the application or bidding process. Useful and timely feedback should be provided as a matter of course.
  3. Information across funders and commissioners should be pooled where appropriate, to ensure that the third sector is not unnecessarily repeating information that has already been shared.
  4. Shared learning on best practice amongst funders and commissioners would be beneficial.
  5. The third sector, working alongside funders, should ascertain whether it would be both useful and practical to create a single point where third sector organisations can apply for grants.
  6. Where consortium bids are encouraged, support should be given, particularly to small organisations.
Funding terms and conditions

  1. The most appropriate form of funding mechanism must be used for each situation; open tendering processes should only be used when appropriate.
  2. Minimum wage costs and uplifts, and inflationary uplifts, should be provided as a matter of course wherever applicable.
  3. Funding levels must match the service levels required, and core costs must be taken into account when calculating funding.
  4. Funding should cover periods greater than a year for continuing services and projects – preferably three years – in order to provide stability to those the sector supports.
  5. Whatever the grant or contract length, funding should never be withdrawn ‘out of the blue’. Neither should funding be reduced because an organisation has raised funds elsewhere.
  6. Monitoring and evaluation should be kept to a level commensurate with the amount of funding/size of agreement applied for.

£8.35 million to support urban regeneration in centre of Glasgow

Scottish Government - Housing Minister Kevin Stewart today announced investment of £8.35 million from its SPRUCE fund to support the refurbishment of vacant office space in central Glasgow.

It’s a move that will deliver around 71,000 ft2 of much needed new high quality Grade “A” office space for the city as well as create and support hundreds of new jobs.

With total investment expected be around £16.4 million, Tarn Crag Limited (TCL), a subsidiary of commercial property investor Praxis, will refurbish Dalmore House, a landmark building on St Vincent Street. It is expected the refurbished office space will be able to accommodate more than 500 workers.

Construction works have now commenced with the offices due to be ready for lease by October this year.

Kevin Stewart, Minister for Housing said:

“Glasgow has a shortage of high quality office space and this latest investment will increase the city’s stock, making it an even more appealing proposition to locate and do business in.

“The fact that it will support 196 new jobs in construction plus training and apprenticeship places in the city is very welcome news. This is exactly why we have provided additional support for SPRUCE, allowing it to continue to invest in this sort of regeneration project, and helping our urban areas flourish and ultimately support the communities which sustain them. SPRUCE funding can now be accessed for projects right across Scotland and we hope to see further investments during 2017. ”

Gary Roberts, Managing Director at Praxis said:

“We are extremely pleased to have reached agreement with SPRUCE and Chenavari who have also provided investment to deliver this refurbishment in partnership with us and are delighted that both have bought into our vision for the property. Their involvement further bolsters the first class team that we have assembled to deliver the project.”


SPRUCE (Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres) is a £50 million fund that offers loans and equity investments to revenue generating infrastructure and energy efficiency projects which support regeneration outcomes in Scotland. Funding for the Dalmore transaction has come from an additional £15 million injected into SPRUCE by the Scottish Government in the form of 2016/17 Financial Transactions Capital.

Dalmore House is a 26 years old, 70,000 ft2 landmark building on 310 St Vincent Street, Glasgow. TCL will comprehensively refurbish the building to a modern Grade “A” EPC “B” standard over a six month period, with the lettable area being expanded to c71,000 ft2 .

TCL is a 100% subsidiary of Praxis, a UK based commercial property market investor. SPRUCE will be the senior lender to TCL for Dalmore. Further funding has been provided to TCL by AREO S.à.r.l. (“AREO”), a private limited liability company managed by London-based Chenavari Investment Managers (“Chenavari”).

Brexit Skills and Labour Gap Risk for Scottish Firms, Says FSB

FSB Scotland - Two thirds of Scottish small employers with EU workers are concerned about future skills shortages, according to new research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

FSB’s new study shows one quarter (26%) of Scottish small employers currently have a member of staff from elsewhere in the EU, with this figure rising to two in five (41%) in the Highlands. By comparison, about a fifth of UK firms have an EU worker.

The small business campaign group says that is therefore vital for Scottish businesses that EU workers are given the right to remain in the country after the UK leaves the EU. 

Mike Cherry, FSB National Chairman, said: “There is real concern among small firms with EU staff that they will lose access to the skills and labour their business needs to survive and grow. EU workers are a vital part of our economy, helping to plug chronic skills gaps across a wide range of sectors, and filling jobs in an already tight labour market. From packers, to mechanics, to graphic designers, small employers need to be able to hire the right person, for the right job at the right time.”

‘A skilful exit: What small firms want from Brexit’ is FSB’s latest research paper on the impact of leaving the EU – and a Scottish version of the report has been published.

The new research shows that, if Brexit creates additional barriers to recruiting EU citizens, Scottish small employers would consider reducing operations (37%), closing their business (19%), or moving their business abroad (12%).

Nine in ten Scottish firms (89%) recruited their EU workers when they were already living in the UK. And the vast majority of UK small firms (95%) have no experience of using the UK’s points-based immigration system to recruit non-EU workers.

Almost half (45%) of Scottish smaller businesses in the tourism and leisure sector have an EU worker. However a similar proportion of smaller firms with EU workers say they mainly employ people with mid-level skills (i.e. positions which require specialist skills or training.)

Andy Willox, FSB’s Scottish policy convenor, said: “Smaller Scottish employers don’t have the resources of their larger counterparts to navigate complex immigration systems. Any future system needs to work for the real economy – and needs to flex to adapt to the needs of all sectors and geographies. It can’t just be big businesses that gain access to the skills they need.” 

FSB is also recommending changes to the Scottish skills and education system to try to mitigate the impact of any immigration changes. 

Andy Willox said: “Our data shows that our members predominantly recruit non-UK EU citizens because they’re the best candidates. If our immigration system is set to change, then our skills system needs to do the same.”

Source: FSB Scotland

One Week to the IED North Conference, 10 May, Manchester

IED - Don't forget to book your place at the IED North Conference being held in central Manchester on the 10th May. 

Taking place at the Lowry Hotel and featuring a keynote speech from Lord Heseltine, the IED North Conference will be bringing together economic development, regeneration and business leaders from across the Northern region and beyond, to discuss how the public and private sectors can work together as the North to foster economic development and make a real difference in the region.

To book your place please click here