Skills delivery landscape: call for evidence

This call for evidence paper seeks stakeholder views on Scotland’s skills system. The information gathered will help to inform recommendations to Ministers by James Withers, the Advisor to the Independent Review of the Skills Delivery Landscape.

Part 4 – Upskilling and Reskilling

The National Strategy for Economic Transformation recognises the importance of lifelong upskilling and reskilling as key to helping people progress to more fulfilling, secure, well-paid and fair work and to navigate changes in the economy, particularly as people’s careers are now longer and more diverse than ever before.

The Scottish Government currently provides additional investment to support upskilling and reskilling through two core programmes: Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) delivered by SDS through independent training providers and colleges, and the Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF), delivered primarily by SFC through colleges and to a lesser extent through the Open University in Scotland, with further delivery supported by SDS through private training providers. Evaluations of both programmes are due to be published shortly and will consider how the programmes can be adapted to maximise impact.

Additionally, both SDS and SFC have standalone upskilling interventions. SDS delivers a workforce planning service “Skills for Growth” which supports small and medium sized organisations that have identified growth plans and need to develop their workforce. SFC supports upskilling and reskilling opportunities in colleges through core provision, and manages the Upskilling Fund delivered through universities which provides shorter, more flexible provision focused on meeting the needs of employers and the economy.

In 2020-22, responding to the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit, the Scottish Government provided additional investment through the National Transition Training Fund (NTTF) and the North East Economic Recovery and Skills Fund (NEERSF). Both programmes were set up as short-life solutions and have recently completed their delivery. The Scottish Government will be reporting on their impact in early 2023.

SG direction under NSET, as set out in the Terms of Reference for this Review, is to consider how the existing education and skills system can be ‘optimised’ to better support upskilling and reskilling throughout life. A key commitment is to the development of a lifetime skills offer which makes it easier for individuals and employers to navigate existing careers and skills support. This work is in the early stage with a focus on building the evidence base to inform policy proposals.

A focus of this work is on ‘short, sharp’ provision which facilitates flexible learning and training opportunities for those looking to upskill and reskill. This was also a key theme arising from the SFC Review which recommended that the SG provide greater opportunities for upskilling and reskilling, building on the NTTF and the Young Person’s Guarantee investment, and that SFC pilot a National Micro-credential Framework and delivery plan to develop a comprehensive approach to certifying modular courses.

Question 12: Do you have any evidence to demonstrate how the existing delivery arrangements for upskilling and reskilling, including the specific funding programmes, are impacting on intended outcomes for learners and/or industry and sectors?

Question 13: Do you have any evidence about what measures, if any, should be in place to understand the quality of national skills programme delivery funded by public investment through independent training providers?

Question 14: Thinking about the government’s ambition to optimise the existing system for upskilling and reskilling throughout life, do you have any evidence to support how changes to the delivery landscape could help to achieve this ambition?



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