National Transition Training Fund (NTTF): year two report

Summarises the outcomes from year two delivery of 33 National Transition Training Fund projects funded by the Scottish Government from April 2021 to August 2022.

2. Supporting Sector Recovery from the Pandemic

In Year 2 of NTTF, we recognised the disproportionate impact that the Covid-19 pandemic and the measures introduced to contain the spread were having on certain sectors. Through upskilling and retraining, we targeted funds towards those sectors in the greatest need of support to help them recover from the pandemic, whilst helping individuals working or seeking jobs in these sectors to retain or gain employment. Projects were delivered in conjunction with various partners, including the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland, the Scottish Tourism Alliance, Unite the Union, Screen Scotland and Fèisean nan Gàidheal.


Scottish Union Learning – Aviation

Continuing provision from Year 1 of NTTF, the Scottish Union Learning – Aviation Covid Recovery Fund, delivered by Unite the Union, aimed to train ground staff and air crew in the aviation industry to protect jobs by increasing skills levels and addressing some essential skills requirements.

Working across the majority of Scotland’s airports, with the project extended to August 2022 to maximise delivery of opportunities, 1,279 individual training opportunities were undertaken. A broad range of training was delivered covering subjects from management and leadership, customer service and ICT skills through to engineering and warehouse training.

Unite the Union has advised that in addition to the clear benefits of upskilling the workforce, many jobs have been protected across a sector that suffered hugely during the pandemic. There have been improvements in pay for many of the workers. In addition to gaining key skills, trainees reported valuing the opportunity to build networks with those in similar roles in different airports, which is not generally possible.

Creative Industries

Creative Industries Freelance Workforce Recovery Programme

Creative industries were among the hardest hit by the pandemic. To respond to this, the Creative Industries Freelance Workforce Recovery Programme was introduced and managed by SDS. The programme consisted of three individual sub-projects, summarised below. Each sub-project offered up to 50% of available places to eligible individuals in rural Scotland.

  • The Creative Industries Iron Works (Level Up Digital) project aimed to offer a targeted digital upskiling and reskilling programme for up to 40 existing freelance professionals, practitioners, and sole traders looking to re-enter the sector. The modules were successfully delivered to 39 individuals, 41% of whom resided in rural Scotland, and the project supported 26 businesses. The project provided a very real opportunity to bring an innovative programme of digital and business thought, leadership, practice, and application to practitioners across Scotland’s creative industries.
  • The Creative Industries Lews Castle College (Sustaining Crafts Careers) project was introduced to deliver a programme of training to support the needs of new entrants into the sector alongside existing practitioners who required new skills to navigate the impact of the pandemic. Overall, the project supported 40 individuals, 60% of whom resided in rural Scotland, and 38 businesses. Two new National Progression Award pathways were established, enabling support for the sector to continue within further education. The partnership has also established a very significant and innovative learning and development resource, possibly a global first.
  • The Creative Industries – Creative Ambitions: Freelancer Skills Programme was an integrated upskilling intervention, delivered online to enable established creative industries freelancers whose livelihoods were most impacted in the pandemic to upskill and reskill and smooth their return to economic engagement in the sector. 354 individuals participated.

RESET project

To support creative industries to recover from the impact of the pandemic, the RESET project was co-designed, co-funded, and delivered in partnership with Screen Scotland, through which two programmes were delivered by TRC media, in partnership with the National Film and Television School.

  • The first programme was the Animation, VFX, and Games Internship programme, which aimed to give those made unemployed during the Covid-19 pandemic an opportunity to retrain for Scotland’s Animation, VFX and Games industries through a 10-month programme of training and paid industry work placements. Overall, 14 interns were supported through the programme, as well as eight businesses.
  • This programme was expanded to become the VFX New Entrants Training Programme with The Fix FX training 14 VFX new entrants in Nuke (industry VFX software) to start them on the journey to becoming skilled VFX compositors and thereby help alleviate a skills shortage in Scotland. Following an initial four to six weeks intensive introduction to VFX course run by the renowned Escape Studios, the interns then began their placements.
  • The second programme was an Introduction to Production Accounting, which offered those made unemployed during the Covid-19 pandemic an opportunity to gain practical training in production accounting across the film and television sector, allowing individuals to develop skills through a two-day course. A total of 21 individuals benefited from this opportunity.

Many participants had reported that Covid-19 had affected their previous work or studies. The training offered through the RESET project has provided an opportunity for these individuals to transition into a thriving sector.

Treòir | Voar | Virr - Islands

NTTF funded this programme, delivered by Fèisean nan Gàidheal and co-funded by the Scottish Government’s Islands Programme. The aim was to aid recovery in education, while supporting retraining and employment opportunities for creative freelancers through live, online, progressive arts-based cultural workshops that supported various aspects of island culture. This included a focus on Scotland’s indigenous languages and dialects, music, drama, dance, storytelling, craftwork, digital and visual art, offered to all primary schools in Scotland’s islands. Overall, 62 individuals and 17 businesses were supported. A showreel video can be accessed at youtube.

NTTF offered Fèisean nan Gàidheal the opportunity to strengthen links with island schools, island-based freelance artists, the Islands Team at the Scottish Government and with staff at West Highland College UHI. Feedback indicates the project benefited all involved, creating employment and training opportunities for freelance tutors following a very difficult period.

Tourism and Hospitality

Tourism and Hospitality Talent Development Programme

To continue to support the tourism and hospitality sector, the Tourism and Hospitality Talent Development Programme was reintroduced by SDS in Year 2 of the Fund and delivered in conjunction with the Scottish Tourism Alliance and Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland. This project aimed to support employers in the tourism sector to retain/upskill employees with supervisory, management and leadership responsibilities to help support recovery from the pandemic.

Overall, NTTF funding supported 532 business and 1,555 individuals. The project received very positive feedback from participants and attracted individuals from every Local Authority area in Scotland. It has also attracted participants from across the tourism sector including employees from hotels, restaurants, visitor attractions, events and conferences, tour operators, bars and many others. This provision succeeded in motivating and developing the top talent within the sector to help it recover faster from the pandemic.

Projects Offering Cross-Sector Support


Following the success of the project in Year 1, NTTF funded a second series of Micro-credential Upskilling courses enabling universities across Scotland to deliver in-demand skills. Micro-credentials are short modularised programmes developed from Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels 9–11 which will meet learners’ immediate high level skills development needs.

Of the 18 universities allocated NTTF funding for additional micro-credential courses, 17 developed new provision under this funding to further broaden their portfolio and increase their reach. The project also aimed to reach underrepresented adults across sectors, including neuro-diverse learners, women in technology sectors, and third sector employees in sectors acutely affected by the pandemic fallout.

There were 3,200 NTTF enrolments on 210 short courses in 2021/22, a 71.2% increase on the number of NTTF enrolments in Year 1. The most popular subject areas were in Cybersecurity, Digital and Computing Technologies (60 courses) and Business and Management (53 courses) although there are micro-credential courses in all sectors such as manufacturing, sustainability, agriculture.

The provision of micro-credential courses requires collaboration between academic staff and has allowed universities to strengthen the relationships and build new partnerships with key partners, including employers. Together they have identified specific skills gaps and delivered bespoke provision that addresses what they see to be a very specific skills need in their sector that could not currently be met by modules that are already offered as part of existing degrees.

College provision including Skillsboost and Fast-Track HNC

Similarly, Scotland’s colleges delivered the Skillsboost project for a second year using NTTF funding across a range of growth sectors. In addition, Year 2 saw Fast-Track HNC courses delivered across colleges, which offered a shorter learner journey for those looking to access identified gaps in key areas of employment.

Colleges completed their reporting of NTTF funded activity in October 2022, reporting back that they had exceeded their planned activity with 4,205 enrolments taking place across 236 courses. 67 Skillsboost courses were developed specifically to support the NTTF and Young Persons Guarantee. These included Skillsboost courses designed to support careers in Butchery, Barbering and Hairdressing, Sport and Fitness, Cybersecurity and Childcare.

Aside from Skillsboost courses, notably large cohorts which utilised NTTF funding included:

  • 153 Ukrainian refugees from West Lothian College who were supported to complete an English for Speakers of Other languages (ESOL) summer school through collaboration with their Local Authority.
  • City of Glasgow College which offered a range of Hairdressing courses supported by L’Oreal with 138 enrolments.
  • Fife College which enrolled over 50 students on their REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene certificate which is required for multiple roles in the hospitality, care and leisure industries.
  • Digital Marketing For Practitioners and Introduction to Cybersecurity were also popular courses with around 50 enrolments on each in Glasgow and Fife.
  • Dundee and Angus College supported 37 enrolments on their Introduction to Scottish Criminal Law.

Workers’ Educational Association

The Workers’ Educational Association project offered various courses with the aim of addressing inequality by targeting provision at those disproportionately affected by the pandemic, or who otherwise face disadvantage in the labour market, including those whose first language is not English.

As part of this, the project aimed to increase the number of people with enhanced digital skills to increase their job prospects or improve their job security. Overall, 212 individuals benefited from courses to increase their employability prospects. Courses offered included ESOL for Digital Skills, ESOL for Employability and Health and Social Care Employability, with significant demand for the ESOL related provision.

Case Studies

Treòir | Voar | Virr - Islands

Na h-Eileanan Tarsainn – Eigg, Muck and Rum Primary Schools, Highland

One strand of the programme was the Eileanan Tarsainn project, which aimed to protect and promote local Gaelic culture and storytelling, by giving students contemporary as well as historical context.

Nan Fee is a singer, drama worker and teacher and was paired with traditional musician and artist Gabe McVarish, who, like Nan, is based in Eigg. Both spoke very highly of the impact of the project on themselves and the local communities. Participants were encouraged to hear, learn and develop stories in their local environment. The class teacher of one primary school that benefited reported the following:

“Working alongside Nan and Gabe on the Treòir project was an incredibly enriching experience. Everyone always really looked forward to the sessions and the activities were always well-planned, engaging and a lovely, collaborative experience.

There was so much variety for the children to engage with, and it was wonderful watching them grow in confidence and express their creativity. Storytelling in the classroom improved and this helped the children develop their skills in speaking and listening. They thoroughly enjoyed sharing their own ideas inspired by ‘The Wee Bannock’ and ‘The Secret of Kells’ and were especially proud of all the beautiful artwork and texts they created. Overall, the project was a fantastic opportunity. We all learned a lot about storytelling and benefited greatly from the richness of Scotland’s heritage and culture.”


Introduction to Butchery – Forth Valley College

The Introduction to Butchery course was developed in response to industry partners struggling with recruitment. It offers three SVQ units, including introduction to the basics of Butchery, practical work and the accredited REHIS Elementary Food Hygiene certificate, and is combined with a work placement with industry partners – mostly Scotbeef.

After the work placement, students are guaranteed an interview. If unsuccessful, the college works with them to find an alternative position within the industry. Two successful courses were piloted in Spring 2022 – eight students for the first course gained employment with 80% employment success rate and five in the second giving a success rate of 75%.

Forth Valley College continues to work with The Department for Work and Pensions and local charitable organisations to provide opportunities to people furthest from the job market. The long-term aim is to offer a full-time butchery course to support growth and development within the industry.

Workers’ Educational Association

ESOL for Employability - Shabnam

Shabnam joined the ESOL Employability class and, during the initial session, disclosed to the tutor that she felt her English was not good enough to find work and that she wanted to find a job in Glasgow. She had worked as a baker in her home country, but lacked the confidence to apply for work in Scotland. She did not understand how to apply for work and talk about her skills, nor did she believe she would be able to secure anything that she would enjoy and related to her previous experience. She had worked previously in a food service outlet, but had a negative experience which had severely knocked her confidence.

The tutor worked with the class, focusing on confidence and motivation, as well as interview skills. Shabnam worked hard in class and completed all homework that was assigned, but it took her a long time to start developing her confidence, particularly in her English language skills. Gradually, Shabnam’s outlook began to change. As the group learned about finding jobs online, deciphering the adverts, and working out which jobs were right for them, she began to build up the confidence to be able to do this herself.

At the second last session, Shabnam arrived to class absolutely ecstatic. She had seen a job advert online, applied, had an interview, and was offered a job as a barista at the Moxy in Glasgow. The group celebrated her achievement in class and Shabnam said the following about her classes with WEA:

“I am so happy that I have now found the confidence to apply for a job. I’m very excited – I start on Friday!”



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