In the last week of September before I took up my post as Head of Scotland, we had a great result in Glasgow when CIPD Scotland swooped the best conference category at the Scottish event awards. That was recognition in a field of professional event planners and it's so well deserved.
Louise Harley for so long working with our Scottish branches to plan and deliver this event deserves special praise. The night before we had a question time panel at Tod's Murray HQ in Edinburgh against the stunning skyline of Edinburgh. As a "weegie", I have an immense feeling of pride in these two cities with more urgency and pizazz about them than you'll find in many cities. Add to that our seaboard powerhouse Aberdeen and the majestic Highlands, Islands and lowlands and we can be rightly proud.
>Latest Census shows that 62% of us feel Scottish
There is a lot geographical diversity of our small piece of rock. A rock which has launched many marvels of engineering and design. A country which is full of ideas and enthusiasm, ingenuity and enterprise. We are a diverse bunch now facing out the global economy. New Scots from Eastern Europe. Asia and Africa now constitute the 7% born abroad. Out latest Census shows that 62% of us feel Scottish. Under a fifth say they feel British. That could seem insular to some but is really only a sign that Scotland is different and distinct.
It doesn't mean we want to cast ourselves adrift. We have the potential to be a really powerful player in the global marketplace and with great institutions like Scottish Enterprise driving our brand into key markets are working constantly at that opportunity.
Our biggest challenge is to grow the human capital which allows every Scot to play their part. Too many are not. Many of our people are unemployed, too many have poor skills and motivation. We have too many companies lacking the ambition or confidence to join the world economy. To do that they need better skilled more capable people. We are capable. Whatever you think about Grand Theft Auto as a social phenomenon it was developed in Edinburgh. Our food and drink is sampled the world over and our biotech industry is beginning to turn into a significant global player with the help of our first class education system and our open approach to talent. Scotland's latest footballing hero Ikechi Anya was brought up in Castlemilk while his parents, a Romanian economist, and a Nigerian engineer pursued post grad study in one of our research starred universities.
This flow of people gives us the human capital to challenge in the global economy. But more Scots should be taking these opportunities. Ultimately that helps us build our economy. Yet we have many problems social economic and cultural. Our levels of health and wellbeing are very poor in large pockets of Scottish society. Just as the Boer war exposed the lack of fitness in the British soldier population poor health and wellbeing are impeding us in the global skills race. The commonwealth games to be held in Glasgow next year are an opportunity to try and inspire a new approach to health and fitness. We need to build the human capital to develop our nation.
CIPD has always been there in Scotland throughout our 100 year history with members making an impact across the range of Scottish business and organisations. Our award-winning conference is the most obvious reflection of that. But now we have a new presence with a dedicated employed team deepening our commitment.
We will work with our network of volunteers and connect with government Employers, unions other associations to push the issues of people and performance up the agenda. But for the moment let's celebrate!
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Head of Scotland! Alex Salmond may want a word
12 Oct, 2013 12:27
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