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16/12/16 10:00

£10 million to support workforce development

Industry and education to work together to develop workforce skills.

Employers in Scotland are set to benefit from a new £10 million skills fund, confirmed today, which will bring the college sector together with industry to better support in-work training.

The new Workforce Development Fund will be introduced to provide employers with workforce development training to up-skill and re-skill their existing workforce. The initiative is in direct response to a call from employers in their response to the Scottish Government’s recent consultation on the introduction of the UK Apprenticeship Levy.

Due to be introduced in Autumn 2017 the fund will also address skills gaps and the training needs of older workers where a full apprenticeship might not be appropriate.

The fund will be developed with the input of employers through the industry-led Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board, Colleges Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council.

The new fund was announced as part of the Scottish Government’s response to the UK Government’s Apprenticeship Levy, and launched by Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn, at an event at New College Lanarkshire, Motherwell Campus.

Other measures announced in the response include commitments to improve the  Modern Apprenticeship programme as we continue planned growth to 30,000 new starts each year by 2020; and continued implementation of the Youth Employment Strategy: ‘Developing the Young Workforce’.

Mr Hepburn said:

“The UK Government took a decision to introduce their Apprenticeship Levy from 2017 without any prior consultation with the Scottish Government or indeed employers. 

“To ensure that our response was right for the Scottish economy we undertook extensive consultation to make sure that the views of employers in Scotland were taken into account.  As a result we will introduce a range of measures that will support skills, training and employment to support our ambitions to increase starts to 30,000 by 2020.

“The announcement of the new Workforce Development Fund today is an example of our commitment to use this opportunity to deliver skills and employment services that work better for Scotland, meeting the needs of individuals, employers and our economy.

“In direct response to the view of employers and wider stakeholder, our overall response to the UK Apprenticeship Levy will support a much broader system to that which was being proposed in England, meaning people looking for a way into the workplace will have more options and flexibility, whilst allowing employers to address skills gaps and the training needs of existing employees where a full apprenticeship might not be appropriate.”