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A truly successful skills system could bring vast benefits to Northern Ireland and Scotland. Both are on the cusp of significant changes, as the impact of automation and technological change combines with an ageing population. This could carry significant dividends, driving productivity and boosting economic growth, and bringing new opportunities for individuals and employers. But there are also big risks. As jobs are reshaped by new technology, people who do not have the right skills risk being unable to obtain secure, well-paying work or even being pushed out of the labour market altogether. Technological and demographic change could narrow social inequalities, if we prepare and respond correctly. The skills system must be at the heart of readying our societies to seize these new opportunities successfully and mitigate the risks.