Scotland can tackle the challenges posed by an era of rapid technological development.

That’s the view of Jamie Hepburn MSP, the Business Minister, who said there was a determination not to repeat the mistakes of a past.

He claimed people and communities were left behind by economic and industrial change.

And the Minister told a conference at Edinburgh Napier University that becoming a fairer society was the key to becoming a more prosperous country.

The Next Generation of Business conference turned the spotlight on skills needed to drive economic growth in the 21st-century.

Delegates, including managers and researchers, discussed how management education programmes must respond in order to equip students with the skills they need to succeed.

Mr Hepburn said: “The rapid advance of new technologies and business models threatens to exacerbate already wide inequalities.”

And he added: “We should perhaps remind ourselves that the past record of adjusting to economic and industrial change in Scotland isn’t exactly impressive.

“Too many people and communities have been left behind, denied the tools to reskill and access emerging job opportunities.

“This Scottish Government is determined not to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

He outlined initiatives to boost productivity and reduce inequality like the Scottish Business Pledge.

Mr Hepburn said: “Our vision for Scotland can be set out simply. Scotland will become a more productive and more prosperous country, if we become a fairer society.

“We must ensure that sufficient numbers of quality jobs are generated to meet the needs and aspirations of all our citizens.”