Skip to main content Skip to footer

Our focus for 2023-26


Our focus is to build careers, lives and the future sustainability of the health and social care workforce through a focus on people, partnerships and performance. We will deliver our strategic ambition through our medium term plan and annual delivery plans, measuring and managing our performance against Key Performance Indicators.




We will:

  • Support NES staff to be the best they can be through developing new career pathways and ways of working, well being initiatives and enabling their professional development.

  • Seek to eliminate the gender pay gap across all protected characteristics and engage younger people in the NES Workforce.

  • Support role re-design and transformation to enable early intervention and prevention, optimise care pathways, address workforce shortages and complement wider service reform and transformation activity across the health and social care system.

  • Scope, design and deliver a programme of workforce development activity to increase the capacity and capability of the social care workforce, working collaboratively with the Scottish Social Services Council.

  • Increase capacity and capability to deliver psychological interventions and therapies to support the people of Scotland including the health and social care workforce.

  • Lead and deliver high-quality education, training and continuous professional development across all health and social care disciplines.

  • Develop the education, training and tools required to support health and care professionals in meeting the Health and Social Care standards, practising Realistic Medicine and delivering value-based health and care in a way which is meaningful to their roles and those they support.

  • Support the health and social care workforce including children, young people and justice services to become trauma informed and trauma responsive.

  • Support professionalism in education across health and social care, with a particular focus on digitally enabled learning.

  • Deliver the NES Workforce Plan and Organisational Development Plan.


Our staff

I feel part of an inclusive organisation which cares about my wellbeing, supports me to achieve my career aspirations and values me for my contribution.

People of Scotland

I am confident that the people providing my care have the right skills to support my needs.

Health and social care workforce

I am confident NES understands the needs of my role and the community that I work in. I feel supported to develop the skills that I need to work in an integrated and person-centred way.


I am confident that the views of my organisation and those we represent are sought, understood and supported through the education, training, workforce development and technology opportunities NES provide.

Commitments, contributions and collaborations

  • We are committed to 'The Promise,' which is Scotland's goal to be the best place in the world for children to grow up. We want children to be loved, safe, respected, and realise their full potential. As a corporate parent, we are dedicated to achieving this goal.

  • We will increase our focus on developing education and training for the health and social care sector and particularly for the children and young people and justice workforce so that they are equipped with the rights skills to enable good outcomes and experiences.

  • We will increase education, training and promote apprenticeships for young people, supporting them to be better prepared for the world of work and to understand the opportunities available through a career in health and social care.

  • We will care for the wellbeing, health, and safety of our staff and those who access our education and training, providing opportunities for them to achieve their full potential.

  • We will support the values of care and compassion, dignity and respect, openness, honesty, responsibility, quality and teamwork, by encouraging positive behaviours and workplace practices so staff across the health and social care workforce experience a workplace culture which is aligned to those values.

  • We will enable a diverse range of people to flourish by widening access to careers in health and social care so that, whatever a person’s life experience, they have access to education and training to support them with their role and career aspirations.

  • We will support transformation in roles and ways of working across health and social care to improve the care and wellbeing of people in Scotland by making careers in health and social care more accessible and attractive and enhancing our reach and approach to educational research, innovation, and technology.




We will:

  • Improve the range, quality, detail, analysis, and reporting of workforce data linked to population health and care needs, working in collaboration with partners.

  • Work in partnership to scope the skills and training required to deliver and implement health care research, development and innovation.

  • Build our capability around workforce supply to develop resourcing strategies which address supply shortages and provide centralised co-ordination and recruitment expertise.

  • Develop and deliver accelerated training in areas of need through the NHS Scotland Academy.

  • Act as the strategic delivery partner to Scottish Government on activities which target skills development in areas such as leadership, digital and data.

  • Scope and develop a National Centre for Remote and Rural Health and Social Care.

  • Develop and implement engagement and participation activities in partnership with people with lived experience to inform our work.

  • Work with partners and staff to provide high quality and relevant equality and human rights education and learning resources.

  • Support development of a portable passport of learning – to support professional development, which will be portable across employers and aid career development.


Our staff

I am empowered to reach out to others in partnership and make connections to support me in understanding the outcomes that matter most to people from the work that I do.

People of Scotland

I know that my voice is being heard, either through my direct involvement, or through the involvement of others. This ensures that the education of the health and social care workforce is guided and aligned to my needs.

Health and social care workforce

I am confident that the education, training and workforce development I receive from NES is co-designed and shaped by the voice and needs of people with lived experience as well as the needs of health and social care staff.


I can deliver shared priorities which improve outcomes and create sustainability and value across the health and social care system because of my work with NES.

Commitments, contribution and collaborations

  • We will actively involve partners and those with lived or living experience of health and social care in the design of our education, learning, workforce, and technology development, to support achievement of the outcomes that matter most to people.

  • We will understand and articulate national and local workforce needs through our work with a diverse range of stakeholders and the combined analysis of a range of data sources to build a picture of national and local workforce needs to inform planning and service delivery.

  • We will contribute to community wealth-building and improving population health through employability and skills. We will do this by codesigning and delivering the highest quality education, training, and workforce development, to support the creation and retention of good quality local employment opportunities in health and social care.

  • We will work with partners to encourage proactive and preventative care approaches supporting improved outcomes and the sustainability of health and social care services.

  • We will work collaboratively to widen access to careers in health and social care so that, whatever a person’s life experience, they have better access to job opportunities, learning and development.

  • We will work with the health and social care sector to identify the barriers to delivering improved outcomes and shape solutions, acknowledging the differences in terms and conditions, accessibility, connectivity as well as the aspirations of the Fair Work agenda.

  • We will broaden our reach and form new alliances and partnerships, at home and abroad, to share learning and develop new ways of working that meet the needs of our communities.



We will:

  • Develop and deliver the National Digital Platform, Digital Front Door and Digitally Enabled Workforce Programme in collaboration with partners such as Scottish Government, COSLA, NHS National Services Scotland and the Digital Health and Care Innovation Centre.

  • Maximise the efficiency of our organisation, clearly demonstrating best value in our work.

  • Refresh and redesign our learning experience platforms and user interfaces to reduce duplication, promote quality, consistency and best value as well as responding to Board, Health and Social Care Partnership/Third and Independent sector needs.

  • Scope and deliver a range of national leadership and quality improvement programmes and resources for the health and social care workforce.

  • Develop education and training products that encompass sustainability and climate change to develop the knowledge and skills of the workforce in protecting our environment and tackling the climate emergency.

  • Strengthen our organisational focus on sustainability and climate change to achieve carbon efficiency.


Our staff

I collaborate with colleagues across NES to develop new and innovative ways of working which build on our shared learning and continuously improve the services we provide.

People of Scotland

I know that the health and social care services in my community are delivered by staff who have the knowledge and skills to deliver high quality, safe and compassionate care.

Health and social care workforce

I am confident NES influences and enables change in the way services are delivered across the health and social care sector, supporting us to make a positive difference to people and communities.


I know that NES’s work improves outcomes for people and supports Scottish Government’s vision to improve the care and wellbeing of people in Scotland.

Commitments, contribution and collaborations

  • We will achieve best value in the delivery of our long-term plan through transforming our business systems, governance, and operating model and maximising the opportunity to transform pathways and service delivery supporting longer term national ambitions of public sector reform.

  • We will support the delivery of more sustainable care and help tackle the climate emergency by ensuring these are key areas within our education, training and workforce development.

  • We will strive for continual improvement in our organisational sustainability and carbon performance.

  • We will support “Once for Scotland” principles by proactively sharing our resources, learning and experience with partners to maximise value and impact.

  • We will work collaboratively to measure the impact of our activities, enabling us to demonstrate the difference we make through our work.

  • We will achieve the status of a credit-rating body, conferring multiple benefits for learners, employers and the wider system as well as enhancing our credibility as the leader of education and training in the health and social care sector.