OVER £1 million is now available to Fife businesses to retrain and upskill their staff.
It comes after the Scottish Government announced that a further £212,000 would be provided as part of the Flexible Workforce Development Fund.
The initiative originally provided funding to employers who paid the apprenticeship levy, meaning that they could each apply for up to £15,000 worth of training for their employees.
The expansion of the fund however now means that all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Fife can receive up to £5,000 each to help increase productivity and plug any skill gaps among their workforce.
The Levy Fund is now in its fourth year and Fife College has already supported 75 levy paying employers in Fife.
Examples of training accessed over the last three years through the fund include Health and Safety, Project Management, Management and Leadership, in-house upskilling programmes and IT and digital skills.
With funding being handed out on a first come, first served basis, Fife College is encouraging all private, public and third sector organisations to apply for funding as soon as possible.
Applications are still being accepted at the College despite the current restrictions, with any training taking place once they have been lifted.
Jan Thomson, Director of Business Development at Fife College, said:
“This fund is a great opportunity for all companies across Fife to upskill and retrain their staff.
“Given the current financial situation caused by the Coronavirus, it’s more important than ever that employers ensure they’re in as strong a position as possible over the coming months.
“Whether it’s to increase productivity among your workforce, or to plug a skills gap, this fund could provide vital help at a time of real need.
“We’d encourage any business in any sector to get in touch with the College and we can discuss the delivery of a development programme that is tailored to the needs of your organisation.
“Funding will be handed out to those who approach us first, so we’d urge anyone who is interested to get in touch with us as soon as possible.”
One company that has benefitted from the fund is James Donaldson & Sons Ltd, a local family business established in Fife over 160 years ago which now has over 1,000 employees and operates in over 30 facilities throughout the UK.
The company has used the funding to invest in a six-day qualification in Leadership and Management through Fife College’s Andrew Carnegie Business School.
Michael Donaldson, Chairman of James Donaldson Group, said:
“Our company has been around for over 150 years, and we plan to be here for the long term.
“Our staff are the next generation of leaders of our company and we are delighted to be able to offer them our full support for the training that they are undertaking. “The Flexible Workforce Development Fund was a great resource in helping us achieve our aims when it came to staff development.
“We’d recommend any business in Fife, no matter what size, to consider using the fund to help them achieve their business objectives.”