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Skills and economic recovery

The Scottish Funding Council has published guidance on its Upskilling Fund for the academic year 2022-23.

Now in its fourth year, the Fund supports learners and businesses by enabling universities to quickly develop short, flexible courses which respond to the changing needs of employers and the economy.

Today’s guidance requires universities to support business sectors disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the UK’s exit from the European Union, asking them to upskill and reskill workers to move into growing sectors of the economy. It also stresses the need to tackle inequalities and to support those seeking employment.

View the guidance and a full breakdown of the Upskilling Fund allocations for 2022-23.

The case studies below illustrate the impact of universities’ use of the Fund in previous years.

Understanding climate change in finance decisions, University of Edinburgh

Assessments of financial risk associated with climate change are becoming integral to decision making at all levels of the finance industry. This means professionals working in areas such as insurance, investment banking, fund-management, and public finance now need a new skill; the ability to translate insights from climate science and climate modelling into micro and macroeconomic impacts, and eventually into financial risks.

This need was identified by the University of Edinburgh Business School and Edinburgh Futures Institute who responded by developing Climate Change Risk in Finance, a pioneering new programme of study. The Scottish Funding Council provided an essential catalyst for the programme by allocating money from the National Transition Training Fund (NTTF). The money supported participation from eligible candidates and allowed course managers to accept admissions from a broader range of participants.

The programme is taught online and comprises two core components of self-paced learning and live sessions for each module. In its pilot year (2021) it attracted 128 participants across two sessions. 28 of these places were funded by SFC through the National Transition Training Fund.

The University of Edinburgh will continue to offer an open version of the programme which it sees an important part of the national workforce development portfolio.

Developing leadership talent in health and social care, University of Glasgow

Based on a strong belief in leadership in health and social care, Project Lift is about individual potential and better experiences at work.

Together with the University of Glasgow, and supported by the Scottish Funding Council, Project Lift is part of a unique partnership for leadership skills in health and social care. The partnership ensures the best match between workforce demand and course content in microcredential upskilling courses provided by the University. The courses are free and financed through SFC’s allocation of the National Transition Training Fund (NTTF).

As well as informing the design of the courses, the partnership connects potential new leaders in health and social care with the opportunities for learning available at the University. This dual function means courses are developed in line with skills gaps and that they reach those with the greatest potential to benefit from them.

Following the launch of each course Project Lift and the University of Glasgow monitor and evaluate the enrolments linked to the partnership. There is an emphasis on gaining case studies and learner feedback.

The partnership is creating a real depth of insight into a particular workforce, and at a level of detail that includes, for example, whether there are certain times in the year when engaging in CPD is suitable.