Scotland the Blog: North by Southeast and West towards Scotland’s Skilled Future

This week we launched CIPD Scotland in three cities. Blinded by the sun and unable to work on my laptop as the train galloped through fife, I reflected upon the regions covered by the Aberdeen event I was headed to. That event launched CIPD Scotland to our members in North of Scotland and Mid Scotland. As the train came into a dappled Dundee, with the vista up the Tay looking more like California I considered how Perth and Dundee come together with fife and Angus to make up Mid Scotland.

Aberdeen is at epicentre of the UK oil and gas industry. Our chair Kate Findlay and Vice Chair Bev Pirie both lead L&D for major Oil and Gas companies. Helen Stuart, another Northern leading light, heads up HR for Abu Dhabi based Taqa Oil, one of the new breed exploiting Scotland’s mature fields. We met David Brigg’s HRD of Robert Gordon’s University, the learning powerhouse for the industry and the seat of the sector academies as well as the focus of Scotland’s green energy learning effort.

>They work in diverse industries from the NHS to the Whisky industry

Inverness colleagues joined in on the squawk box. They work in diverse industries from the NHS to the Whisky industry as well as oil and gas. Had any of our members from Orkney and Shetland been there they would be annoyed when I wrongly identified Papa Westray as being in Shetland. Its in Orkney and I was reflecting on the fact that the shortest route in air transport was flown by a  female pilot for the first time. Another inspiration for women was that in Aberdeen we had the MD of the oil and gas safety training company Crescent. A real role model from HR and an evidence of a pipeline of leadership talent to be tapped when the boardrooms of Britain get round to addressing the woeful shortage of  women. After Aberdeen we shunted down to Edinburgh on a stopping train where the guard went the extra mile (quite literally) for us, showing Scotland’s brilliant and unique hospitality and “kin dae” attitude to customer service.

That brought us to Edinburgh - seat of government and the hub of Scotland’s financial services sector. Our branch vice chair Keith Watson heads up employee relations for RBS and Tony Sharkey is Ops Director at fund manager Turcan Connell.  Kate Guthrie of LBG was there, as was Therese Procter of Tesco Bank - one of the new breed of firms flocking to Scotland. Alan Boyter HRD of NHS Lothian who holds one of the biggest jobs in HR was also there. Edinburgh is curiously where both the general Assembly of the Church of Scotland and Grand Theft Auto were established. I use that fact  to reflect on how Scotland’s future will be about leveraging the trusted, stolid, reliable and prudent approach we are known for - and the creative edge and entrepreneurialism we have in abundance but need to channel  better. Talking of edgy; the male staff at Hotel Missoni the modish hotel we held the Edinburgh event wore zig zag kilts.

In Glasgow, we connected with some great people like Angela Elliott from Network Rail and Fiona Irvine former HRD of Scotrail and formerly change director of both First group and Phones4U. Add to that, former CIPD Scottish partnership Chair Karen Lally Head of Insights for National Australia Bank, as well as George Galloway of Diamond Drilling and Dennis Nickson HRM  professor from Strathclyde. The University is one of our top sources of HR talent worldwide and one of the few triple rated business schools.  Wherever we went in Scotland we connected with impactful senior HR professionals.

Peter Cheese landed our messages superbly with his usual relaxed witty incisiveness; Donald gave a great back story to the CIPD Scotland Journey and even promised to wear one Hotel Missoni’s trendy zig zag kilts. I was able to get across our three priorities. Julie Dryborough, Scotland’s social networking superconnector captured it all on storify.

Finally, when Karen McMillan CIPD’s UK Market Development Director and I were catching up after our Glasgow event Brian Cox “A” list actor and proud Dundonian was in the hotel. With his permission  I snapped him for Karen’s husband Rob and I am taking his expression to say that he wasn’t too happy about Dundee Losing its city of Culture bid to Hull.

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