The Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF)

BLOG9th Nov 2021

The Scottish Government has confirmed the details of the 2021/22 Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) – phase 2, with the key points as follows: 

  • The FWDF is available to eligible employers across the private, public and third sectors based in Scotland. 
  • It is not restricted to apprentices, but it is in addition to apprenticeship support, which all employers are eligible to access in Scotland, and Individual Training Accounts (ITAs) which support eligible individuals to take up learning opportunities to develop their skills for employment. 
  • The fund can be used to cover the training completely or to partially cover training at a higher cost. 
  • The fund will not support provision of qualifications or training required by legislation. 
  • Employers may submit only one application to the fund within the application period (and only in one region). They are required to formally declare that their application is on behalf of the whole company and is their sole FWDF application. 

How can the FWDF help employers? 

It is intended to help employers with a package of relevant online training to boost productivity and upskills and retain employees particularly in those areas where critical skills gaps exist in Scotland. For example, your employees may need new skills to enable your business to adapt and respond to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim of the funding is to provide employers with workforce development training or important supply-chain members to increase organisational capacity and productivity, having access tailored training in high-quality learning environments and having the flexibility to choose the training that best meets their business needs. 

Who is eligible? 

FWDF is a Scottish Government initiative open both to UK Apprenticeship Levy paying employers and (SMEs) small to medium enterprises (those with less than 250 employees) in Scotland. An employer that is both a Levy-payer and an SME can apply through the Apprenticeship Levy funding stream or the SME funding steam, but not both. 

Levy-paying employers can nominate up to two of their supply-chain companies to receive all or part of their allocation or can include supply-chain company staff in training they have identified as a collective priority.  Levy-payers can choose how to split the funding between the Levy-payer and one or two supply-chain companies.  Supply-chain companies should not be Levy-payers in their own rights. 

Levy-payers have two options as follows; the programme can be delivered in partnership with: 

  1. their college, The Open University in Scotland (OUiS). This will be administered by Scottish Funding Council (SFC).  The total fund for these opportunities is £13 million. 
  2. an independent training provider. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) administer the scheme. There is £2 million available for this option. 

SMEs only can apply to access training opportunities with colleges and the Open University in Scotland, administered by Scottish Funding Council (SFC). The total fund for these opportunities is £5 million. 

How to Apply for FDF? 

Applications for the FWDF are now open on a first come first served basis.  All training must be contractually agreed by 31st July 2022 and commence by 31st August 2022 and be completed by 31st December 2022. 

You must submit a training needs analysis (TNA) as part of your application.  This will show how the training will help your organisation make a demonstrable return on investment.  You are responsible for sourcing, co-ordinating and reporting on the training requirements. 

For further information, or if you have any questions, please contact Farzana Uddin or your usual Anderson Anderson & Brown contact.

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