Informed Scotland Learning & Skills Hottest Topics 2019

We’re delighted to present the seventh annual list of Learning & Skills ‘Hot Topics’ that made it onto the cover of Informed Scotland over the past year:

1. Digital skills (=3 in 2018)

=2. Widening & fair access (=3)

=2. Diversity, equality & inclusion (=1)

=4. Future education, skills & work (=3)

=4. Partnerships, agreements & mergers (–)

=4. Qualifications, exams & assessment (–)

=4. Science, technology, engineering & maths (STEM) (=3)

=8. Apprenticeships (–)

=8. Attainment & achievement (–)

=8. Teacher education, development, standards & careers (=1)

 ‘Digital skills’ was back as the hottest topic of 2019 – it’s the only topic to have been in the top three every year since 2013 and this is the fourth time it’s occupied the number one spot. Themes keeping it there last year included training and certification, and ongoing skills shortages and gaps.

‘Widening access’ is the second of three topics to have made every annual list. It’s also been in the top three each year since 2016 although it’s never made the number one spot. The term ‘fair access’ is also often used, with the Scottish Framework for Fair Access launched in May.

‘Diversity, equality & inclusion’ was back on the list, slipping just one place after its first appearance last year as the hottest topic, covering themes such as poverty, social mobility, disadvantage, disability, care experience and ethnicity.

‘Teacher education & development’ fell out of the top three for the first time since it joined the list in 2016, and after it shared the top spot in 2018.

Thanks in part to progress reports on Graduate and Foundation Apprenticeships, ‘Apprenticeships’ was back after only missing one year, 2018, out of seven.

‘STEM’ was the third of three topics to have made every list since 2013, with its highest place being second in 2016.

There were no new topics on this year’s list, although ‘mental health & wellbeing’, ‘artificial intelligence & automation’ and ‘additional support needs & support for learning’ just missed out.

‘Skills shortages & gaps’ dropped out of the list for the first time ever, although we expect it to return in 2020. Despite expectations, ‘Brexit’ also just missed the top 10, although its impact is likely to have a growing influence on skills this year and beyond.

2020 is Scotland’s Year of Coast & Waters, however judging by previous themed years we’re not expecting to see it on next year’s list – perhaps we’ll be proved wrong…

What were your 2019 highlights? What are your predictions for 2020? Tweet us @InformedScot and we’ll share your thoughts.

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