The Scottish Government has now launched the Flexible Workforce Development Fund which it created as part of its distinctively different approach to the
Flexible Workforce Development Fund created as part of (Scottish Government's) distinctively different approach to the Apprenticeship Levy
The Fund is designed “to provide employers with workforce development training to up-skill and re-skill their existing workforce” – ie it is for non-apprenticeship
traininng. “This fund may be particularly beneficial in addressing skills gaps and training needs of the older workforce”, and the Government is keen that it supports
priority sectors (which include food and tourism, though not maritime explicitly) and priority groups.
Applications are now open until 15 December from companies based in Scotland which pay the levy.
Applications are now open until 15 December from companies based in Scotland which pay the levy. Companies must provide evidence that they pay the Levy.
The initial Fund is £10m nationally, with up to £10,000 available for individual companies.
The Guidance is short and clear and is attached below. Full details are here on the Scottish Funding Council website.
The Scottish Government has a strong preference for supported training to be based on recognised qualifications, but words that section of the guidance carefully (para 20): it is not an absolute requirement. The Fund will not support any training required by statute.
The Fund is managed through colleges, following the traditional approach of central Government paying colleges, rather than paying employers (which is the apprenticeship approach in England). The emphasis on colleges may make it harder to get specialist training, though colleges ought to be able to sub-contract.
The Scottish Government is assuming that companies will work with their “local” college, and that model doesn’t always fit the maritime sector well. There is provision, however, for companies to make a single national approach through their local college (see para 16).
This is a pilot, so if maritime companies want the design to be different in some way so they can benefit to a greater degree, we should say so.