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The Flexible Workforce Development Fund is available to all Scottish employers, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

The Fund supports businesses in Scotland to up-skill and re-skill their employees to support inclusive economic growth in Scotland.

As an employer you can use it to address priority skills gaps and get training tailored to your needs.

What is the Fund for?

The Fund provides funding to UK Apprenticeship Levy-payers and SMEs in Scotland which they can use to access flexible workforce development training opportunities.

It is intended to help employers address priority skills gaps and training needs. For example, your employees may need new skills to enable your business to adapt and respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This Fund is in addition to the apprenticeship support which is available to all employers in Scotland, and Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) which support eligible individuals to take up learning opportunities to develop their skills for employment.

How is it accessed?

There are different routes to access the funding, depending on type of training opportunity you need and the type of business you are - a Levy-payer or an SME. If your business is both an SME and Levy-payer you might be eligible for all three routes - dependant on other restrictions. Check the guidance carefully.

But you must choose one route for funding and can submit only one application.

Levy-paying employers can also use the funding to make improvements to the operation of their supply chain. You can either nominate up to two supply-chain companies to receive the funding instead of your business, or you can include staff from supply-chain companies in a training opportunity.

SME route

SMEs can apply for up to £5,000 to access training opportunities with colleges and the Open University in Scotland. The total fund for these opportunities is £5 million.

You can get more information on this option from the Scottish Funding Council.

Levy-paying employer routes

There are two options for Levy-paying employers.

1. Colleges training

You can apply for up to £15,000 to access training opportunities with colleges. The total fund for these opportunities is £13 million. You can get more information on this option from the Scottish Funding Council.

2. Training by independent providers

If the training you need cannot be provided by a college, you can apply for up to £15,000 to access training delivered by independent training providers. There is £2 million available for this option. You apply for this funding through Skills Development Scotland (SDS).

These are the key requirements:

  • You must be a Levy-paying employer in Scotland in the private, public or third sector.
  • You must be an employer based or operating within Scotland, wholly or partially.
  • The funding must be used for Scottish-based employees only.

The funding can be used to cover the full costs of training or can go towards partial payment of training costs. But it can’t be used to pay for industry qualifications or for training to meet a statutory obligation required by law.

You must submit a training needs analysis (TNA) as part of your application. This will show how the training will help your organisation make a demonstrable return on investment. SDS can help you prepare a TNA. Or you can re-use one that your business has already developed.

You are responsible for sourcing, co-ordinating and reporting on the training requirements.

This year (2021/2022) the training must:

  • start by 31 August 2022
  • be completed, invoiced and paid for by 31 December 2022.

How to apply

The deadline for applications is 31 July 2022.

Eligible applications will be approved on a "first-come, first-served" basis so you are advised to apply early.

Please note that the Flexible Workforce Development Fund guidance dates can be subject to change at any point during the year.

See Funding Our Skillsforce for:

  • details of the eligibility criteria and restrictions
  • the full application process
  • FAQs

For additional questions please contact fwdf@sds.co.uk

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