THE challenge faced by the Scottish education system in keeping pace with technological change was laid out in stark terms by Sir Tom Hunter yesterday.

The entrepreneur, speaking as his Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship launched its latest initiative at the University of Strathclyde to foster closer links between business and education, said the pace of change is the “fastest it has ever been, but it’s the slowest it ever will be.”

For institutions tasked with preparing Scotland’s young people with the world of work, and careers in business in particular, the situation may seem pretty daunting. This is a sector, after all, that is also dealing with tightening budgets due to pressure on public finances, as well as the possibility of funding from the European Union drying up as a consequence of the Brexit vote.

Loading article content

Sir Tom warned that technological revolution is progressing so quickly that the “world of work” is “running away” from education, stating that there is a “need to disrupt education” in order for some balance to be restored.

It seems like a tall order, but there are reasons to be optimistic.

As Sir Tom and Bob Keiller noted yesterday, links between education, entrepreneurs and the broader world of business have never been as good as they are now.

That is pertinently illustrated by the initiative launched by Sir Tom yesterday, which will see some of Scotland’s best known entrepreneurs – including Chris van der Kuyl of game developer 4J Studios, BrewDog co-founder James Watt and Lord Willie Haughey – lecture at Strathclyde Business School and share their experiences with students.

Universities themselves might struggle to keep up with advances in the digital economy, but if they are able to give students access to entrepreneurs who pioneer the use of technology in their businesses, then maybe at least part of the gap Sir Tom highlighted can be bridged.