Workforce Development - Addressing Industry Skills Needs
Early engagement with employers highlighted that, while they see great value in Modern Apprenticeships, they do not see them as the only way to meet their skills needs. It was clear that employers welcomed a much broader, more flexible offer in response to the apprenticeship levy than was being proposed in England. In particular they were looking for support that would allow them to address skills gaps and the training needs of older workers where a full apprenticeship might not be appropriate.
In the consultation we asked if the Levy funding should be used to establish a flexible skills fund to support wider workforce development. The responses to the consultation highlighted clear support for the introduction of such a fund, recognising that this would help develop a workforce to meet future needs, supporting overall economic growth in an ever changing environment.
Flexible Workforce Development Fund
In response to the views of employers to our recent consultation on the Apprenticeship Levy, the Scottish Government will establish a new Flexible Workforce Development Fund to be introduced in Autumn 2017. This will be developed with the input of employers through the industry-led Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board and shaped by Colleges Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council. It will be delivered through the further education sector. This new fund will provide employers with support towards the flexible workforce development training needed to support inclusive economic growth through the up-skilling or re-skilling of their employees. Further details of the new fund will be worked up in the new year.
Wider Workforce Development Support
In addition to the new Flexible Workforce Development Fund we will also continue to support a range of other measures to address industry skills needs and support inclusive economic growth.
In many parts of Scotland, public bodies are among the largest employers and as such, they can play an important role in offering sustainable employment and in developing their staff. They undertake a range of skills and training-related activities for which they already receive funding from the Scottish Government through their respective budget allocations. In line with our Youth Employment, Labour Market and Scottish Economic Strategies we continue to work with public sector employers across Scotland to consider how they can make a difference to the recruitment and development of their staff through all of their activities.
We will provide support to help employers recruit disadvantaged young people to access and sustain employment though our Employment and Training Support Initiative.
We will also continue to support recruitment and training within specific sectors of the Scottish economy including:
- Digital Economy Skills and Business Support
- Energy, through our Transition Training Fund
- Social Care, through the Voluntary Sector Development Fund
- Early years recruitment and training
- Teacher Training, through the Into Headship provision and the Scottish College for Educational Leadership
In line with our Youth Employment Strategy, we will continue to strengthen employer links with schools through the development of our network of Developing the Young Workforce Regional Groups.
We will also continue to provide funding for Individual Learning Accounts supporting the upskilling of those on low incomes to enhance their employability or career progression.