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Flexible Workforce Development Fund

In December 2016 the Scottish Government announced the introduction of a Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) to provide Apprenticeship Levy-paying employers with workforce development training to upskill and reskill their existing workforce. Since its pilot 2017-18 the fund has expanded to allow small and medium enterprises (SME) to benefit from training, and from 2022-23 both Levy-payers and SMEs can access all available training routes

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The FWDF enables employers to address priority skills and skills gaps in their organisation by accessing funding to create training programmes that meet their needs. These programmes can be delivered in partnership with their local college, The Open University in Scotland (OUiS) or an independent training provider. SFC administers the scheme on behalf of colleges and OUiS, while Skills Development Scotland (SDS) administers the scheme on behalf of independent training providers.

Information for employers and institutions

Information and guidance on how employers, colleges, OUiS and independent training providers can access the FWDF.


Priorities of the FWDF

The FWDF supports SFC’s strategic outcome of greater innovation in the economy and the Scottish Government’s strategic priority of high quality learning in a system which is seamlessly connected for the learner. This includes learning which prepares people well for the world of work and successful long-term careers, prioritising provision that meets known skills gaps in the economy.

The Fund also contributes to Scottish Government priorities, anchored in Scotland’s Economic and Labour Market strategies:

  • A strong labour market that drives inclusive, sustainable economic growth.
  • A skilled, productive and engaged workforce capable of meeting the needs of Levy-payers and SMEs.
  • Equality of opportunity to access work and to progress, to ensure everyone is able to maximise their potential.

FWDF Phase 2

The overarching policy objectives of the FWDF are productivity and economic growth. However, since the onset of the pandemic, and in AY 2021-22 the focus continues towards strengthening the employer/employee relationship, with a particular focus on upskilling the existing workforce to retain jobs and support employers as they adapt to a new and very different working environment as a result of COVID-19.