Flexible Workforce Development Fund

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Professionals engaged in short course training

Employers can access funding to upskill and reskill their employees through the Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF).

The FWDF is a Scottish Government initiative that enables employers to address priority skills and skills gaps in their organisations by accessing funding for training courses that meets their business need.

Training is delivered by the College via funding administered by the Scottish Funding Council, so there’s no cost to the employer.

FWDF applications for 2021/22 are now open

Who is eligible?

The FWDF is open to both UK Apprenticeship Levy paying employers and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) across the public, private and third sectors in Scotland.

  • UK Apprenticeship Levy paying employers can access training up to the value of £15,000 through Inverness College UHI. Employers must provide evidence of their levy-paying status. The Apprenticeship Levy is a UK tax on employers with an annual pay bill of more than £3 million.
  • SMEs can access training up to the value of £5000 through Inverness College UHI. An SME is defined as any business with less than 250 employees.

How can the FWDF help you?

By accessing the FWDF, employers in Scotland:

  • Have the flexibility to choose the training that best meets their business needs,
  • Address priority skills gaps,
  • Access tailored training in high-quality learning environments,
  • Engage and motivate existing employees by offering high-quality training which brings the greatest benefit to your organisation.

How we'll support you

Inverness College UHI has a diverse range of training programmes available for employers, with the choice of short courses or longer, part-time courses, and varying qualification levels. The offer ranges from ICT, business and management courses, through to health and safety and industry specific qualifications, to mental health, wellbeing and counselling. The College also works with employers to deliver bespoke training and can access training for companies with specialist needs through the wider University of the Highlands and Islands partnership.

  • We’ll confirm your eligibility for funding,
  • Support you to conduct an analysis of your training needs and identify courses,
  • We’ll walk you through the application process so it’s as smooth and hassle-free as possible,
  • When approved, we’ll organise the training and provide you with support so your staff have the best experience possible.

Applications for the FWDF are now open, with training now available. All training must be contractually agreed with the College by July next year at the latest, commence by August and be completed by December.

The FWDF is first come, first served, so get in touch with the College’s Business Solutions team now to find out more. Call Business Solutions advisor George King on 07385029845 or email fwdf.ic@uhi.ac.uk to arrange a call back at a convenient time.

What employers say

Highland Home Carers content A nurse with a resident. Photo by Highland Home Carers.

Highland Home Carers

Jean Stewart, director of HR and workforce development at Highland Home Carers, said: “Traditionally, we’ve used the FWDF to help support our care and support practitioners to achieve their SVQ2 in Social Services and Healthcare, which is needed to be a Scottish Social Services Council registered support worker. However, more recently we’ve seen staff undergo ICT training and administration training. Managers have also been able to access Chartered Management Institute short courses."

“This targeted training enables us to support our staff to increase their professional knowledge, minimise errors and improve communication throughout the organisation. It’s also enabled us to standardise our managers’ skillset, enabling us to better support employees throughout the organisation and share knowledge and experience.”

Ms Stewart continued: “We have an excellent working relationship with Inverness College UHI. Our sector has been significantly affected by the pandemic, but the team are very knowledgeable and have been incredibly supportive.”

Behind the Scenes VA content Behind the Scenes VA owner Emma Mulraine

Behind the Scenes VA

Emma Mulraine, owner of Behind Scenes VA, said: “When I found out SMEs were eligible for FWDF funding, I was keen to give my members of staff the opportunity to develop new or existing skills. We’ve used it to access PRINCE 2 project management qualifications alongside a Business and Administration SVQ3 for Jules, our administration assistant/trainee bookkeeper, which will help support, solidify and
extend her skillset.

“Access to qualifications such as this is hugely helpful, especially considering their cost and the usual limitations present within other funding schemes. Securing this training has had an immensely positive impact on team morale and enables us to support employees with career development and progression. The whole process has been incredibly smooth, with the team at the college guiding us and supporting us  throughout. They are very informed and generally just nice people to deal with!"

Highland Timber Construction content Kevin McLaughlin, Highland Timber Construction

Highland Timber Construction

Highland Timber Construction accessed IOSH, BOHS and CITB accredited programmes in site management (SMSTS) and site supervisor safety training (SSSTS) via the FWDF.

The firm also used the fund to access half-day health and safety courses, including: working at heights, manual handling, asbestos awareness and behavioural safety.

Kevin McLaughlin, director of Highland Timber Construction, said: “This training has been invaluable to us as we’ve been able to use it to invest in our staff, increasing both their knowledge, personal development and assisting our retention and ability to attract new members of staff as we seek for them to progress with us as the business also develops.

“It’s vital to us our staff feel they can develop every level of their skillset. It’s an important part of our collective identity. The experience of
working with Inverness College UHI has been excellent and we hope to build on that moving forward through accessing degree level courses, apprenticeships and further training.”

Highland Timber Construction currently has six apprentices receiving training through Inverness College UHI, and with the help of the business
solutions team members, they also recently employed an architectural technology graduate of the college in a full-time position.

Scottish Association for Marine Science content Anuschka Miller, director of the Ocean Explorer Centre at SAMS, with students.

Scottish Association for Marine Science

THE Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), part of the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership, used the FWDF to  develop staff skills in a range of areas following a company training needs analysis. This included accessing a range of Chartered Management Institute (CMI) short courses including first-line management, being a leader and improving team performance, as well as an introduction
to counselling programme.

Karen Campbell, HR operations for SAMS, said: “We were able to access convenient and professional training to support our staff in developing the skills they need to grow their careers and maximise performance. The college was extremely helpful in shaping our application and enrolling students on courses. Our staff not only got to develop new skills, but they also got to grow their professional network by meeting other course participants.”