A reform of enterprise and skills agencies and how they operate has been announced by the Scottish Government .

A new report from the first phase of the review of enterprise and skills services has outlined a raft of reforms which will include:

Creating a new Scotland-wide statutory board to co-ordinate the activities of Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, including Scottish Development International, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council.

Protecting services in the Highlands and Islands and creating a new service for the south of Scotland

Accelerating the delivery of the Trade and Investment Strategy and, through SDI, co-ordinating international activity across the public and academic sectors to ensure maximum benefit.

Improving the data and evaluation functions to ensure the new board can provide the best advice across all agencies.

Offering more support to businesses on innovation, productivity, digital and exporting.

Aligning the functions of our learning and skills agencies to deliver the joined-up support that our young people, colleges, universities and businesses need to increase sustainable economic growth.

Economy Secretary Keith Brown said: “We are proud of our enterprise and skills agencies, and in recent years their efforts have contributed to real improvements in our economic performance.

“But we know that further improvement is required - our ambition is for Scotland to rank among the top performing OECD nations for productivity, equality, sustainability and wellbeing.

“Since the review was announced, the EU Referendum result has made the economic context more challenging. It requires that we renew our focus and prioritise our efforts

“This review has focused on how we can build on existing strengths and successes to further improve the enterprise and skills support system in Scotland. This will ensure a system in which all of our agencies work both hand in glove with each other and collaboratively with our business, academic and civic partners to optimise economic impact across the whole of Scotland.”