Donald McLaughlin, the former director of network giant Cisco, has been appointed chair of the Digital Technologies Skills Group.
McLaughlin brings with him almost 30 years of experience in the global technology sector. He has in the past been a member of several industry boards relating to skills and technology and has served as a board member of the Digital Technologies Skills Group for over a year.
The group is responsible for advising on the Digital Technologies Skills Investment Plan which was created to enable Scotland to reach its full potential in the rapidly evolving digital technologies sector.
McLaughlin’s appointment comes as the demand for digital skills grows to new levels. Digital technology is one of Scotland’s fastest-growing sectors, forecast to grow twice as fast as the Scottish economy overall by 2024.
Claire Gillespie, sector manager for digital technologies at Skills Development Scotland said: “Donald McLaughlin is a passionate advocate for digital skills and is ideally placed to carry on the great work of the group as chair.
“Scotland’s technology sectors have nearly 13,000 job opportunities annually. Through the work of the group and the digital skills funding provided by the Scottish Government, we are confident that Scotland’s potential in the digital technology economy will flourish in the years to come.”
A key priority for the group is to improve the visibility and recognition of the growing demand for digital skills not just within the technology sectors but across the wider Scottish economy.
McLaughlin told DIGIT: “We are in the midst of what is being called the fourth industrial revolution. We need to disrupt or be disrupted. We have to make sure every level of society is included and equipped with the relevant digital skills to thrive in a world which is changing at an unprecedented rate. From school children learning to code, to older people having access to the internet, digital inclusion is a vital part Scotland’s economy.”
“We have incredibly talented people in Scotland and we need to ensure we create the right environment for them to flourish and drive successful and sustainable companies forward. We have seen the start of initiatives like CodeClan and the Digital Xtra Fund to encourage as-yet untapped digital talent into the sector. Importantly, we need to change the perception of technology and attract more women into the digital technology sector.”
“Scotland has a long tradition for innovation. I believe Scotland can be – and should be – a world leader in digital technology but to achieve this we must ensure the relevant digital skills are here. I am honoured and delighted to be leading the skills group and look forward to working closely with government and industry to drive forward investment and mindshare, delivering on the skills required by industry.”