Informed Scotland Learning & Skills Hottest Topics 2022

Which learning & skills topics appeared on the most covers of Informed Scotland over the past year? Here’s the tenth annual list.

=1. Recruitment, vacancies & workforce shortages (NEW)

=1. Qualifications, exams, assessment & review (=9 in 2021)

=3. Energy transition & net zero skills & jobs (NEW)

=3. Skills shortages & gaps – upskilling & reskilling (=1)

=5. Careers guidance & career services review (=9)

=5. Developing the young workforce & early careers (=4)

=5. Poverty related attainment gap & challenge (–)

=5. School education reforms (=4)

=5. Science, technology, engineering & maths (STEM) (–)

=5. Students – experience & perspective (–)

Two topics share the top spot:

  • Qualifications, exams, assessment & review is up from joint ninth place in 2021. ‘Qualifications…’ has been in the list five times, but this year its inclusion is driven by the Independent Review of Qualifications & Assessment launched by the Scottish Government at the end of 2021.
  • Recruitment, vacancies & workforce shortages is one of two topics in the list for the first time. Its entry reflects the continued impact of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic, Scotland’s unemployment rate falling to a record low of 3.1% in September, wages not keeping pace with inflation plus the shortage of skilled workers in growth sectors.

In joint third place are Energy transition & net zero skills & jobs, the second first timer on the list, and Skills shortages & gaps. The latter has made every annual list except one, and this is its second year in the top three. In 2022 the main shortages and gaps were in green skills/skills for net zero, cybersecurity, engineering, construction and social care.

There were two surprise omissions: Digital skills didn’t make the list – or indeed the top three – for the first time ever! It slipped to joint 11th place, after holding the top spot five times including a year ago. And after two years at the top, Covid-19 was also missing – the biggest surprise was that it didn’t even appear on one cover in 2022.

Among the topics that appeared on a cover for the first time was the ‘Cost of living crisis’ – expect to see this back on the list for 2023.

What other topics are expected to be ‘hot’ this year? The two 2022 new entries – ‘Recruitment, vacancies & workforce shortages’ and ‘Energy transition & net zero skills & jobs’ – are likely to be back. Also expect to see ‘School education reforms’ and ‘Qualifications…’ on the list again as the outcomes of the reviews come to a head. The Independent Review of the Skills Delivery Landscape is also due to report in the spring – it’s had a much lower profile but its outcomes could make an impact.

Make it your New Year’s resolution to be better informed about what’s happening across learning & skills in Scottish business, schools, further & higher education, community & adult learning, and government & wider society. Contact [email protected] to receive a recent copy of Informed Scotland and find out how to subscribe here.

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