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 it was piloted in 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.
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
The Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) provides an opportunity for colleges, The Open University in Scotland (OUiS) and independent training providers to engage with local employers and develop a deeper understanding of the skills needs in their regional economies. Employers can address priority skills and skills gaps in their organisation by accessing funding to create training programmes that meet their needs.
Information for Employers
The FWDF is open both to UK Apprenticeship Levy paying employers and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland. From 2022-23 both Levy payers and SMEs can access training through the college sector and the OUiS. Apprenticeship Levy payers can access training up to the value of £15,000 and SME up to £5000.
We have also collated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) [PDF] with links to the colleges and OUiS websites.
For further details on the funding route most appropriate to your business please see the Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]. Once you have identified the appropriate route the college, OUiS or SDS will guide you through the application process.
By accessing the FWDF, employers in Scotland:
- Have the flexibility to choose the training that best meets their needs.
- Can use the Fund to address priority skills gaps, including transitioning to net zero.
- Can access tailored training in high-quality learning environments.
- Engage and motivate existing employees by offering them high quality training to bring the greatest benefits to your organisation.
Information for Colleges, The Open University in Scotland and Independent Training Providers
The FWDF provides an opportunity for colleges, the OUiS and independent training providers to engage with local employers and to develop a deeper understanding of the skills needs in their regional economies. By engaging with this initiative, colleges, the OUiS and independent training providers can play an important role in supporting economic recovery and growth.
Currently for the FWDF in 2022-23, there is £10 million available for colleges, £0.5 million available for the OUiS and £1 million available for independent training providers. Allocation of this funding is detailed in the guidance notes below.
SFC would encourage colleges, the OUiS and independent training providers to promote the FWDF to employers across Scotland in any way they can. In addition, Colleges Scotland has produced a set of case studies to show how the college sector is using the FWDF.
Flexible Workforce Development Fund 2022-23
Should you have any questions that are not currently addressed in the FAQs, or if there are any issues you would like to raise, please email our dedicated email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Priorities of the FWDF
The National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET), published in March 2022, sets out a vision for 2032 for Scotland to be a thriving, inclusive and entrepreneurial country delivering a just transition to a net zero, nature positive, wellbeing economy.
NSET aims to ensure that people have the skills they need at every stage of life to have rewarding careers that meet the demands of an ever-changing economy and society. It commits specifically to support and incentivise people, and their employers, to invest in skills and training throughout their working lives.
The FWDF is well placed to support the aspirations of the NSET.
SFC’s Review of Coherent Provision and Sustainability also recognises that learning throughout life will become increasingly important and the pace of change in the jobs market will require people to undertake more frequent reskilling and upskilling. The FWDF plays a key role in providing skills interventions that can be flexed to address the very significant employability and skills needs we recognise employers and employees will require over the coming period.
Colleges in Scotland who can offer training via the Flexible Workforce Development Fund