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.

4. Supporting Future Skills Transitions

In response to ever-changing labour market and skills demands in Scotland, we must continually update and develop our skills system to meet the critical challenges that we face as a society and deliver for the future. Year 2 of NTTF aimed to contribute to these ambitions, providing upskilling and retraining opportunities to ensure that the sectors that will be most affected by these changes remain flexible and agile. Key sectors that NTTF sought to support through upskilling and retraining included digital and aerospace.


Early Learning and Childcare Taster Programme

The Early Learning and Childcare Taster Programme offered an opportunity to gain experience with industry recognised learning to help individuals apply for entry level positions in the sector. The development of the programme recognises the known current and future vacancies in this sector as a result of Scottish Government expansion policy. A key ambition in its development was the desire to increase the diversity of recruits to the sector, including those who have not previously considered a career in childcare.

Referrals for the programme were disappointing but reflected the tight labour market operating during 2021/22 and the difficulties many sectors were experiencing in addressing labour and skills shortages. However, 48 individuals accessed the programme, and benefited from increased knowledge about the childcare sector, qualifications and routes and improved employability skills.


Advanced Cyber Security Skills

Jointly funded by NTTF and the Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience Unit, the Advanced Cyber Security Skills project was delivered by ScotlandIS to offer businesses support to train workers in cyber security to address skills gaps in the workforce, with the intention of enabling staff progression to open up opportunities for recruitment. ScotlandIS successfully upskilled 119 individuals and supported 38 businesses through the project, with an estimated 26 junior-level vacancies projected to be created within the next 18 months as a result of the upskilling courses being undertaken. There was overwhelming interest in the fund with over 150 employers showing interest.

The fund was managed in such a way that organisations from all industries could gain access to it, and 32% (against a target of 25%) of organisations who have accessed the fund came from out with the Scottish technology sector, and range from oil and gas organisations, public and third sector organisations and construction. This highlights the importance of cyber security skills required out with our core technology companies.

Two organisations (both from Aberdeen) who have utilised the fund have already successfully hired new members of staff as a direct result of the upskilling their identified learners had undertaken.

Organisations from all parts of Scotland, from Orkney to the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway accessed the fund. Most organisations who were successful came from Aberdeen, with 26% of companies being based there. 89% of companies who accessed the fund classed themselves as a start-up or SME organisation.

OSP Cyber Security noted:

“We were looking to upskill one of our team and due to the cost involved for a certified training course for cyber/information security we had put this on hold. Access to the ScotlandIS fund allowed us to go ahead with the training and we now have new clients as a result of the skilled member of the team now delivering cyber audits.”

Code Your Future

To increase the number of individuals from under-served and diverse backgrounds in the digital sector, Code Your Future aimed to help widen the talent pipeline with much-needed, highly-skilled tech professionals and to diversify the Scottish technology ecosystem. One of the main objectives of the project was to sustain and expand vocational training to support a wide range of vulnerable people in Scotland. This included adults struggling with unemployment due to redundancy in the pandemic, adults living below the poverty line, adults from ethnic minority backgrounds and adults seeking refuge in the UK.

Delivered across three strands: Software Development Course, Introduction to Digital Course and Tech Projects, Code your Future has enabled individuals to access training and job opportunities in key roles in digital.

Of the 25 participants, 19 graduates from the Software Development Course have achieved positive outcomes, with 17 moving to new jobs in companies such as BigSpark, Sopra Steria and Capgemini. There have been 112 registrations for the Introduction to Digital Course. Completion of this online programme is long term but at the close of reporting for NTTF, 41 individuals had completed the course.

The Tech Projects funding enabled sponsorship of ongoing and new development of internal digital tools (including their critical Student and Volunteer Dashboard) by CodeYourFuture alumni, providing them with further valuable work experience and providing the organisation with tools that sustain and improve their vocational programmes and community cohesion.

Digitally Enabled Learning Pilot

The Digitally Enabled Learning Pilot project provided access to a wide range of funded online learning provision via LinkedIn Learning and Future Learn for adults in Scotland, which enabled individuals to upskill and reskill. The project aimed overall to help individuals be more prepared in applying for job opportunities as they look to get back to work, progress in their career or change direction. Users accessed a wide variety of training via the two platforms with courses on excel analysis, project management and digital skills proving particularly popular. 85% of users surveyed who accessed LinkedIn Learning via the free licenses agreed it had helped expand their knowledge, with 77% saying it had helped them gain new skills.

The most common benefit of digital learning of those surveyed was the flexibility digital learning provides to train at a time that most suits the learner. 94% said they would be likely to use digital learning again in the future. As of January 2023, there were, 2,390 activated accounts for LinkedIn Learning and 1,516 enrolments by 723 individuals for Future Learn.

Digital Skills Catalyst Fund

To further support the digital sector, the Digital Skills Catalyst Fund was introduced and administered by SDS. This pilot fund aimed to support businesses to develop and implement bespoke advancing digital technology skills training, where mainstream provision didn’t exist elsewhere, and support the workforce to increase their advancing digital skills capability to align with emerging digital technologies. A total of 99 people were directly supported through the Fund and three businesses were supported to develop and implement bespoke advancing digital technology skills training. The outcomes for this project will be realised over a longer period of time as the training and skills interventions permeate through other business areas.

Digital Skills Pipeline

Recognising the skills gap facing the digital sector, the Digital Skills Pipeline, administered by SDS, aimed to address reskilling challenges by stimulating the creation of new, modular courses at four strategic intervention levels: excluded, untapped talent, hidden talent, and existing workforce. The project successfully supported 280 participants through a variety of training courses. The project created opportunities for a range of learners, recognising that not all learners will immediately be able to move into digital technology employment and may instead progress onto further learning such as at college or an apprenticeship. This ensured learners could begin to develop skills which will help them articulate into further learning or move into employment.

LEAD Scotland – Build Back Digital

The purpose of the LEAD Scotland – Build Back Digital Training Programme was to provide a range of advanced digital learning opportunities for disabled people, carers and practitioners who in turn become more digitally agile, confident and skilled to work in online spaces. The project succeeded in providing training to 108 individuals in total. The project worked with a variety of organisations, predominantly the public and third sectors.

LEAD Scotland believe that delivering the series of ten online accessibility webinars, allowing participants to audit their own organisation’s digital presence and services, was a significant step forward in ensuring that disabled people across Scotland are included when services are being designed or reviewed in relation to online spaces.

Reaching into businesses to offer guidance on how they can improve their accessible services has left a project legacy of essential contacts, improved understanding of accessible service design, and positive steps forward in our vision of a fair society where disabled people and carers have an equal opportunity to learn, participate, and achieve their potential.

Health and Social Care

Open University – Adult Social Care Career Boost

The Adult Social Care Career Boost project aimed to offer a range of health and social care provision to support those looking to transition into the care sector and/or to transition into different roles within the sector or into more advanced positions. The project was administered by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and delivered by the Open University in Scotland (OUiS), supporting a total of 76 individuals and 25 businesses. 59 learners were recruited across Scotland to undertake accredited health and social care modules.

Five modules were available, providing learning options for those new to the sector, as well as those already in health and social care careers. Additionally, a further 17 learners were chosen to study a selection of accredited micro-credentials. Following strong interest in their leadership and management module, learners were offered a selection of courses which covered this skill area, including change management, people management and management of uncertainty. The individuals that benefited from the courses have been equipped with new skills that can facilitate their careers within the sector and help the sector to address existing skills gaps.

Introduction to Adult Social Care

Through the Introduction to Adult Social Care project, colleges across Scotland aimed to develop and offer a robust five-unit (60-hour) online programme of learning in adult social care at SCQF level 5. The project was supported by the College Development Network Care Strategy Steering Group and endorsed by the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). Overall, the project succeeded in supporting 187 individuals through NTTF support. The course was recognised as impactful across organisations, employers, and those who delivered and undertook the learning. Students who completed the course are now progressing on to other college courses or entering employment.

Looking ahead, the course is currently being accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). Most colleges have indicated they will continue to deliver the Introduction to Adult Social Care programme in a variety of ways including as part of their mainstream programme, for senior phase school pupils or in their programme for communities.

Laboratory Science

Forth Valley and Glasgow Clyde College Lab Skills

The pandemic has highlighted increased demand for competent lab-based staff who are knowledgeable in health and safety requirements and have a working knowledge of industry standards, increasing demand for such staff. The Forth Valley and Glasgow Clyde College Lab Skills project aimed to train and upskill new laboratory staff who, on successful completion of the course, would be able to work safely in a lab environment to industry standards. The project was introduced and funded in Year 1 of NTTF and continued into Year 2. Overall, 20 individuals and five employers were supported through the project. The colleges worked in collaboration with various industry partners to enhance the success of the project, including Charles River, Accubio, Antibody Analytics, MiAlgae, and Oracle Bio.

Life Sciences

SULSA Life Sciences

The Life Sciences sector in Scotland continues to provide exciting career opportunities in a variety of scientific and operational roles. There are currently more than 41,700 people employed in over 700 diverse businesses and higher education institutions in Scotland and growth of the sector is set to continue.

Responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, the sector moved at pace to develop therapeutics, vaccines and innovative healthcare solutions. This was possible due to a resilient and skilled workforce. As the sector innovates and diversifies, demand for future talent provision in both existing and emerging innovative fields of advanced therapies, drug development, medical and health technologies is growing. Training provision remains key to not only sector growth, but also importantly providing further quality opportunities for the Scottish workforce.

Managed by the Scottish Universities Life Sciences Association (SULSA), the SULSA Life Sciences project funded the development and delivery of courses to address a practical skills gap in new entrants to the Life Sciences sector. The project was successful in delivering a portfolio of different skills training courses and careers events to more than 600 individuals across Scotland, engaging the Life Sciences ecosystem and connecting industry, universities, colleges, and public bodies.

Overall, 303 individuals received training through the project and 16 businesses were supported in working with 16 academic institutions, with an additional 318 individuals attending Glasgow ‘Lighthouse Lab’ transition events. This project demonstrated the appetite for practical Life Sciences training and engagement, with all activities being over-subscribed. As part of the project’s legacy, an Essential Laboratory Skills course has been embedded in the Dundee and Angus College curriculum to support the education of laboratory technicians in the north of Scotland.

A Skills Committee has also been established for SULSA, to bring together upskilling/reskilling expertise and encourage knowledge exchange between SULSA member universities to continue the successful collaborations.

Case Studies

Code Your Future

AJ was one of many asylum seekers in Scotland waiting for their refugee status to be confirmed, when he registered for Code Your Future's free Software Development course. Like many others, AJ was keen to develop his skills for the future and contribute to the society around him. He was fortunate to find out about Code Your Future, and with the help of the organisation and its committed volunteers, AJ began his journey to acquiring the web development and employability skills that he hoped would eventually propel him into a life-changing job in tech. During the course, volunteers from tech and other industries in Scotland supported AJ and his fellow trainees to learn sought-after software development skills alongside fundamental soft skills that were demonstrated on a portfolio of individual and team projects that the trainees were tasked with developing.

Shortly before completing the course, AJ received the positive news that his asylum claim had been successful. Less than a year after starting its Software Development Course, AJ graduated from Code Your Future and interviewed successfully for a life-changing job at an Edinburgh-based company that sees him use his newly-developed skills to grow the machine-learning potential of Scotland's ambitious tech sector. AJ is now volunteering with Code Your Future and helping it to launch and train its next cohort of software development trainees from underrepresented and under-served backgrounds.

LEAD Scotland – Build Back Digital

This project aimed to provide a range of advanced digital learning opportunities for disabled people, carers, and practitioners who in turn would become more digitally agile, confident, and skilled to work in online spaces.

  • 100% of respondents said they were more confident about digital accessibility.
  • 96% of respondents considered the skills learned were useful in their current role.
  • 26% of respondents considered the skills learned were useful in future jobs.
  • 21% of respondents considered the skills learned were useful in voluntary roles.
  • 100% of respondents reported improved skills in ensuring online accessibility.

Given the focus of the project, LEAD Scotland was pleased to note a number of participants felt that the skills they had learned would be useful in obtaining new or improved employment. Particularly welcome were the participants who reported that what they had learned would come in useful for their voluntary commitments.

This kind of deployment of skills often has a particularly valuable impact at grassroots level in communities, with disabled people very often in the vanguard of those benefiting. LEAD Scotland see this in their own volunteers, many of whom come with a raft of useful skills that they are keen to share with their learners and befriendees.

LEAD Scotland noted: “The more of this type of work we can do, the more we are positively impacting society as we seek to reduce the employment gap between disabled people and their non-disabled peers.”

SULSA Life Sciences – Change to Cell Culture Skills Training course

As part of the Life Sciences project, the Cell Culture Skills Training course ran an innovative training tool for laboratory skills, teaching and training the cell culture process using immersive technologies. The course was developed by Edify and sponsored by Merck. It equipped candidates with practical laboratory skills to enhance employability prospects and make the transition to a laboratory environment more efficient to organisations.

This project created a highly realistic digital 3D counterpart of a general bioscience lab, enabling familiarisation with the lab environment and bioscience specific protocols including the Cell Culture process which prepared staff for industry standard operating procedures (SOPS), higher efficiency in onboarding industry staff, and also the development of a 2D version for use in secondary education to promote STEM careers.

The primary users of the virtual environments and processes were students and/or trainees, higher and further education institutions, industry trainees and early career professionals.



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