Flexible workforce development fund: first year evaluation

An evaluation of college delivery of the flexible workforce development fund pilot in 2017-2018.

1. Introduction

This Report presents the findings of an evaluation of the pilot year of the Flexible Workforce Development Fund ( FWDF).

The evaluation, which was commissioned by the Scottish Government, was undertaken over the six-month period covering January to June 2018.

1.1 Study Aims and Objectives

The overall aim of the evaluation was to explore what is working more or less well in the first year of the FWDF (covering the period 1 st September 2017 to 30 th June 2018), and to offer recommendations around monitoring and evaluating the longer term impact of the Fund.

More specifically, the detailed evaluation objectives were to:

  • identify how the FWDF is impacting on employers, employees and colleges;
  • explore the extent to which emerging employer demand is being understood and met;
  • explore what is working more or less well in the first year of the Fund;
  • identify best practice/success factors;
  • assess what data are required to monitor and evaluate the impact of the Fund going forward; and
  • provide recommendations around monitoring and evaluating the longer term impact of the Fund.

Further, the Scottish Government specified a number of detailed research questions ( Appendix A), and we return to these in the final Chapter.

1.2 Study Method

The study was undertaken in five main stages, as illustrated in Figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1: Study Method

Figure 1.1: Study Method

More detail is provided within the individual Chapters of the report, however, a brief breakdown of the primary research undertaken is provided below.

Table 1.1: Primary Research



College Network in Scotland

  • 25 face-to-face and telephone consultations
  • This represents all colleges involved in the delivery of the FWDF

Wider Stakeholders

  • 21 face-to-face and telephone consultations with wider partners and stakeholders

Employers Survey

  • 82 telephone interviews with levy-paying employers:
    • 73 employers in receipt of FWDF monies, with training at various stages (e.g. yet to start, underway or completed)
    • four employers who are currently working on an application and/or agreeing training
    • five employers who are aware of the FWDF but decided not to apply

Appendix B provides more detail of the approach to the employers’ survey and challenges encountered.

1.3 Report Structure

The remainder of the report is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 2 briefly sets the scene on the background to, and development of the FWDF, including governance, management and delivery arrangements;
  • Chapter 3 presents details of current uptake of the Fund among levy-paying employers;
  • Chapter 4 provides feedback gathered from the college network and wider partners and stakeholders;
  • Chapter 5 presents a summary of the main messages arising from the employers survey; and
  • Chapter 6 provides our overall conclusions and recommendations

The following information is appended:


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