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Flexible Workforce Development Fund

7 September 2017 

£10 million to deliver in-work training.

From today, Scotland's employers can apply for part of a new £10 million fund to partner with colleges to deliver in-work skills training.

The Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) will be available to organisations across the private, public and third sectors who are subject to the UK Government's Apprenticeship Levy.

The one-year pilot fund will focus on the up-skilling and re-skilling of existing employees of any age, with individual organisations able to apply for up to £10,000.

The FWDF was developed in line with the Scottish Government's 2016 consultation on the UK Government's Apprenticeship Levy, and is part of a range of support for Scottish Levy payers, which includes the expansion of our Modern Apprenticeship programme.

Minister for Employability and Skills Jamie Hepburn launched the fund at a visit to ScotRail to meet staff undertaking training and skills development.

He said:

"This unique pilot scheme will enable Scotland's employers to make training and skills development available to their staff, addressing knowledge gaps and improving productivity.  

"The Flexible Workforce Development Fund is part of Programme for Government, and an important element of our skills offer in Scotland.  It is part of our wider offer of training and support that provides a clear and distinctive response to the introduction of the UK Apprenticeship Levy.

"Training and skills development is beneficial for employees of all ages and levels and I would encourage all organisations subject to the levy in Scotland to get in touch with our colleges to learn more about the opportunities available to them."

John Kemp, interim chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said:

"Giving employers and their staff flexible opportunities for training to upskill and reskill is a positive step to address skills gaps, and is great news for employees, Scotland's businesses and the economy."

Shona Struthers, Chief Executive, Colleges Scotland, said:

"I am delighted that the Flexible Workforce Development Fund will be delivered through the college sector. Scotland's colleges already play a vital role in working with businesses to meet the demands of the labour market by successfully developing and delivering work-based skills and producing qualified workers across all sectors. 

"We understand the needs of employers and are looking forward to continuing to work with them to identify specific requirements and develop tailored training, ensuring greatest added value. The Flexible Workforce Development Fund is a significant and welcome addition to this partnership working."

John Gillies, the ScotRail Alliance's HR director, said: "At the ScotRail Alliance we invest heavily in our people, all across the business. Our modern apprentices complete the Gold Duke of Edinburgh's award programme as part of their apprenticeship, giving them skills for life as well as the workplace.

"We also promote opportunities for existing employees to expand and develop their skillsets, allowing them to make the most of their potential. Our team is our most important asset, so it's important that we give them the right skills for the job."

Source - Scottish Government Website

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