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The Scottish Funding Council has published guidance to universities on how they should use its national upskilling fund to develop new, flexible skills-based courses. 

Now in its second year, the focus of the fund is firmly on supporting people who have lost their job or are at risk of losing their job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Universities are being asked to build on recent innovations in this area and to further develop their ability to help people acquire skills for a changing economy. Institutions are also being encouraged to create additional learning materials and to offer opportunities to more people.   

In the first year of funding for upskilling, the Open University in Scotland developed a series of special modules to address skills gaps in IT, business, maths and engineering. At Abertay University, people wanting to improve their skills in marketing were offered a suite of digital marketing qualifications designed to be relevant to any type of business. The University of the Highlands and Islands created two courses leading to qualifications in medical and social care.

In its guidance for this year, the Scottish Funding Council asks universities to collaborate to create a range of complementary opportunities and to avoid duplication. Courses developed through the upskilling fund will typically be much shorter than a full academic year and will have flexible start dates for students.

Universities are being asked to provide details of their plans for using the fund by early December.

More information is available on the SFC website.