OVER 70% of the audience engaging with Scotland's new 'SkillSeeder' app are female, according to its latest usage figures.

A first for Scotland, the app is a one-stop-shop for skill seekers to find courses, workshops or one-to-one training. It also allows more people to earn an income from sharing their skills, and allows skill sharers, whether they are professional or non-professional, to advertise their services in one place. With a reported surge in interest from female skill sharers and skill seekers, it seems that women especially are seeing its benefits.

Supported by the Scottish Government, and engaging with Lantra Scotland and a range of organisations including Women’s Enterprise Scotland, SkillSeeder now offers over 1000 courses. From computing to cookery, horticulture to health and safety, forestry to farming, it gives users the chance to both share and learn new skills, in-person or online. Removing barriers to learning, it is of particular benefit to people who lack confidence, have limited English language skills, or live far away from a college. Users can search by location, and by their preferred learning style such as in person, online, listening, watching, or reading/writing. They can also view the ratings of the training and decide which course suits them best.

Speaking about the link between SkillSeeder and Women’s Enterprise Scotland, Carolyn Currie, CEO of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, said: “We see huge opportunities for women owned businesses to access the skills which will help them grow their businesses and also benefit commercially from offering their own training on the platform.

"Research shows that if more women, especially those in rural communities, were encouraged to upskill and start their own business, £8.8 billion could be added to the Scottish economy and 230,000 new jobs created. Access to platforms such as SkillSeeder, along with initiatives such as the new online platform we launched last year, www.womensbusinesscentre.com, are critical in helping women develop the skills they need to reach their full potential.”

Discussing the work between SkillSeeder and Lantra Scotland, Liz Barron-Majerik, director of Lantra Scotland, said: “Our rural and remote areas face significant challenges in retaining and developing the skills required for robust and resilient economies and never has that been more important. Challenges arising from geography and connectivity can make it hard enough to find appropriate mainstream learning opportunities, let alone the less formal learning.

"We are working with SkillSeeder to help them develop a skills sharing system that encourages people to engage, and those with expertise to share their skills, in rural and remote locations.”

Co-founder of SkillSeeder, Kerry Cowan, said, “We are delighted to be working with Lantra Scotland and will be integrating hundreds more Lantra training courses onto the SkillSeeder app over the next two weeks. We have many skill sharer accounts now registered with us from both professional trainers and informal experts from a variety of sectors. We have also now created a search function on the website so that people can search for courses without having to download the app first.”