With the release of Scotland’s employment figures last month, Robert Graham says the dairy industry is perfectly positioned for job creation.
Last month, it was announced Scotland’s jobless total rose by 14,000 in the final three months of 2017, with the increase taking the country’s unemployment rate above the UK’s. This caused Scotland's Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn to recognise the Scottish government’s "need for further investment in our economy and labour market" and Scottish Secretary David Mundell called the figures "worrying". I see this as an indicator of the need to build a progressive Scottish economy through investing in innovation and supporting new markets.
The Scottish dairy sector has the potential to play a leading role in helping to reverse Scotland’s unemployment figures by constantly innovating and thinking big. The industry is perfectly positioned to support job creation at a global scale. In doing so, the sector can grow Scotland’s GDP, forge career pathways through research and development, consistent with the ambitions of the Government’s programme for Scotland.
Research by the Fraser of Allander Institute shows that innovation is at the heart of economic recovery and job creation, and is instilled in the culture of Scotland’s family businesses. The recent Scottish Family Business Top 100 report highlights they are part of the engine room of our economy contributing “significantly to employment, economic output and to their communities”.
As a family business ourselves, it is in our DNA to think long term and place innovation high on our agenda to ensure the longevity of our company. Our growth through three generations of dairy farmers, has been underpinned by consistent investment in three things: people, brands and modern manufacturing.
We strive to be forward thinking and continuously capture the imagination of consumers which has led us to launching a new product every year since 2007 and now growing internationally, from our home in Stirling. However, we can only continue to achieve this through investment in research and development, which I believe can be replicated to advance the Scottish economy.
Graham’s the Family Dairy has proposed a national dairy production, research and education facility in Stirling, which represents the largest single investment in the Scottish dairy sector in more than 30 years. This would bring 400 local new jobs and 50-person apprenticeship scheme to Stirling, plus 350 during the construction phase, as well as significant financial investment to the area.
Made possible by our project with Mactaggart & Mickel Homes, the joint application is all about investing in people, homes, research, education and infrastructure with the aim to strengthen the Scottish economy – everything that we know is important to the Scottish Government.
As a small country, we should be thinking big to help reverse our unemployment figures and we need to be bold in our actions to achieve this.