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Land-based Learning Review report: SG response

The Scottish Government response to the Independent Commission for the Land-Based Learning Review that reported to Ministers with 22 recommendations to attract and equip more people, particularly women and young people, with the skills and knowledge needed to work in land-based and aquaculture sectors.

Executive Summary

The Commission for the Land-Based Learning Review (the Review) reported to Scottish Government in January 2023. Ministers have accepted or accepted in principle all of the recommendations.

The Commission remit was to provide Ministers with evidence-based recommendations to attract and equip more people, particularly women and young people, with the skills and knowledge needed to work in land-based and aquaculture sectors. This included how to provide opportunities and qualifications through learning pathways in early years, school, college, university and work-based learning. The Review was underpinned by cross-cutting themes:

  • Equality and Inclusion;
  • Fair Work; and
  • Delivering a just transition to a net-zero and a climate resilient Scotland.

Scottish Government response

The 22 recommendations cover a wide range of issues: from perception and awareness of the land-based and aquaculture sectors to the role of schools; from further and higher education to funding and policy, and from data to Just Transition.

The Scottish Government response to the 22 recommendations is:

  • To note one is complete (Rec 6, contribute to Skills Landscape Review).
  • Accept 10.
  • Accept in principle 11.

How we take recommendations forward will be considered as we develop the Implementation Plan and in the context of broader prioritisation in what are set to remain challenging economic conditions and the similarly challenging fiscal outlook for the Scottish Government.

Reform of Education and Skills in Scotland

The response to the Review has been considered in the broader context of recent education and skills reviews. The Independent Review of the Skills Delivery Landscape[3] and the Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment[4] reported in 2023, with recommendations on the skills and qualifications landscape and are being considered by Scottish Government. In the “Purpose and Principles for Post-School Education, Research and Skills” [5] Ministers committed to reform and accepted the basis of most of the recommendations in the Skills Delivery Landscape review. The Land-Based Learning Review raised many similar matters, notably the need for a more responsive and agile education and skills system.

Any reform of education and skills will take time, so the specific Review actions related to this are likely to be over a period of years. We are considering how existing services can be maintained as we make any transition. Similarly, the Agriculture and Rural Communities (Scotland) Bill is proposed as the way to progress recommendations for agriculture education and training and the way in which these are implemented will be dependent on the bill processes and timescales.

The overarching Recommendation (1) was to, “Work towards the reframing of the land-based sectors as nature-based”. We recognise there are differing views on reframing these sectors under “Nature-Based Sector” for certain purposes and agree there may be benefits from such a change, but research and sector engagement is required to inform a final decision on such a potentially significant move.

Next Steps

We will produce an Implementation Plan with relevant stakeholders to monitor progress and contribute to meeting Recommendation 15 for an annual review of progress.

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