The new SkillSeeder app has been launched today which allows for knowledge exchange to help people share and learn new skills from others.
Co-founded by four entrepreneurs, Kerry Cowan, Simon Rigden, David Ritchie and James Ritchie, SkillSeeder provides a solution for improving access to learning and upskilling.
SkillSeeder was initially created in response to the Scottish Government’s CivTech 5 programme to support learning in rural communities and has now received funding from the Scottish Government and launches today (Thursday, May 13).
A first for Scotland, SkillSeeder developers say the app is a “one-stop-shop” for skill seekers to find courses, workshops or 1:1 training and allows skill sharers, whether they are professional or non-professional, to advertise their services in one place.
Coronavirus has had a major impact on job roles across Scotland, with unemployment numbers and staff being furloughed increasing last year. Edinburgh-based travel tech firm Skyscanner announced it was to cut 20% of its total workforce in July 2020 due to the pandemic.
According to employment stats released by the Scottish Government, the proportion of people aged 16-64 in work decreased last year to 74.6%, falling short of the 75.1% employment rate for the UK.
The Scottish Government stepped in in January 2021 to provide £1.1 billion to help tackle unemployment brought on by the pandemic and to support businesses.
As the end of the worst of the pandemic approaches, apps like SkillSeeder could use knowledge exchange to aid those struggling for employment, and for people to support each other through the rest of the pandemic.
Developers say the app saves skill sharers from having to register their services on numerous websites and makes searching for specialist learning easy as well as helping to manage payments, removing any concern from the sharers about when they will receive their pay. Additionally, the app encourages in-person and online upskilling for all skills and sectors.
In a press release, the firm said: “SkillSeeder removes barriers to learning, such as people that lack confidence, have limited English language skills, or live far away from a college. Filters within the app allow users to tailor their search. They can search by location, and by their preferred learning style such as in person, online, listening, watching, or reading/writing.”
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Speaking about the launch of SkillSeeder, Kerry Cowan commented, “We are calling for skill sharers across Scotland to register on SkillSeeder.
“We are keen to ensure that as many skills as possible are listed – from cooking to fitness, music to horticulture, whether it be for work or for leisure, we are excited to offer people in Scotland as much chance as possible to learn something new or upskill their abilities.
“With either in person or online training, SkillSeeder ensures that even the most rural of communities will have access to specialist training.”
Skill sharers can register their workshop or course for free, and until November 2021, they will not be charged a fee when bookings are made through the app.
Each course will be submitted for review and approved by SkillSeeder before they are registered on the app, and some courses, for example, machinery operatives, must require the sharer to be accredited.
Cowan continued: “There has never been a better time to up-skill. After the difficulties of the past year, people will be diversifying into new jobs and careers. Having access to quality skills, from all sectors, in a convenient location will be vital. Especially for those living in remote rural areas.”
Skill sharers will be able to register now for the app, will courses available from June 2021 onwards. Cowan believes that this knowledge exchange will help people across the country: “SkillSeeder is for everyone. All skills and sectors are included, and all learning styles.
“We believe in removing barriers to learning, therefore if there is a skill someone needs to learn, they will be able to find it locally in their community through SkillSeeder.
“The app is quick, easy and safe to use and allows trainers to share their knowledge and expertise and enables skill learners to find the skill they need quickly and easily.”