Flexible Workforce Development Fund

Sophie Law

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Scotland can access training up to the value of £5,000 provided by The Open University (OU) to support staff development. 

This fund was first announced by the Scottish Government as part of the 2020-21: Phase 2 of the Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF), to help SMEs address key skills gaps and develop the skills your business needs.

An OU business advisor will support you to develop a training plan to support your organisation’s identified skills needs. Organisations will then be supported to complete an application, informed by the skills needs analysis and training plan, and submit this to the OU along with evidence of eligibility, for consideration. Upon approval, your employees will be supported to register with the OU upon the courses outlined in your organisation’s training plan.

The OU offers SMEs a tailored suite of training for their employees, delivered online through our innovative platforms.  It is a highly flexible way to access the training your business needs – in the workplace or from home – whilst accommodating operational requirements and optimising business efficiency, and your employees’ personal commitments.

SMEs will be supported through training at Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 10 - undergraduate - or SCQF Level 11 - postgraduate - and through industry recognised or accredited provision.

Training options focus on areas reflecting Scotland’s skills priorities:

  • Leadership & business
  • Digital & IT
  • Health & social care
  • Green economy

The format of the training available will include:

  • Short courses: A range of non-credit bearing CPD opportunities available on demand or as scheduled courses.
  • Microcredentials: Gain specialist knowledge with these sector-endorsed courses and develop practical skills that can be applied in the workplace immediately; achieve either undergraduate or postgraduate credit.
  • Undergraduate modules: Designed for those in industry seeking to develop knowledge, skills and capability.
  • Postgraduate modules: Designed for professionals and those with industry experience - extending knowledge, skills and capability, and developing strategic thinking, innovation and leadership.

Additionally, SMEs – and their communities – are readily able to access the extensive range of free informal learning resources available via the OpenLearn platform to support lifelong learning, with individuals able to gain statements of participation and digital badges.

To find out more about eligibility criteria and how to apply, please download the Flexible Workforce Development Fund Employer Guide for SMEs.

To arrange a meeting to discuss your needs, contact them here or go to their website for further information.