Facts about funding
When it comes to securing financial help for training, finding the right solution can often seem like a maze – so our expert is here to explain exactly what kind of assistance your business is entitled to via the Flexible Workforce Development Fund
As it currently stands, every construction company in Scotland is entitled to either £5,000 or £15,000 to spend on training of their choice, thanks to the Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF).
This versatile and easily accessible fund can help you identify and achieve your digital enablement goals and aspirations, and is available regardless of whether you’re registered with, or receiving funding from, the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB).
It can be used for any kind of training, coaching, or professional development, one-to-one training, standard courses or designed bespoke for your company including:
Digital leadership coaching
Training to help you identify the best digital tools for your business
Training on the legal and contractual aspects of digital construction
Product training on any digital tools you’re rolling out
Upskilling/reskilling employees with digital skills e.g. coding, systems integration or data analytics.
The funding is £15,000 if your wage bill is more than £3 million and you pay the Scottish Apprenticeship Levy, or £5,000 for any other size of business, including sole traders.
“Training is essential to ensure we achieve the skills and digital transformation needs for an electric future that meets our climate change agenda”
The terms of the funding have evolved and become much more flexible since the funding first started a few years ago. If you explored this funding in the past and found that it was quite limited, then it’s probably worth reviewing the new terms.
Unfortunately, not many businesses know about this help – and those that do are often bamboozled by the thought of the many hoops they’ll need to jump through.
It’s a shame, as training is essential to ensure we achieve the skills and digital transformation needs for an electric future that meets our climate change agenda.
So what are some of the FAQs about the FWDF? I’m glad you asked…
Are only businesses with a wage bill of more than £3 million that are paying the Scottish Apprenticeship Levy entitled to FWDF funding?
No. Any business in Scotland, even a sole trader, can apply for funding of at least £5,000.
Can you only spend the funding on courses which your partner college offers?
No. Some colleges will sub-contract to other colleges or a private training provider if they can’t provide the training you require. However, the total sum of funding includes VAT and a college admin fee of up to 1.3% which means 35% of the available funding is lost.
Can you only spend the funding on college courses and recognised qualifications?
No again! You can spend the funding on any training or development that can demonstrate improved productivity. This includes qualifications at sub- degree level, short duration courses, bespoke training and development programmes designed for your company, one-to-one training or coaching, in-house training, e-learning or distance learning.
Can you only apply through participating colleges?
Once again – no. There is funding available for companies who would prefer to partner with a private training provider.
Does all the funding have to be used with a single college or training provider?
I think you know the answer here – no! Colleges can sub-contract to other training providers or colleges so the funding can be used for any number of different courses or programmes across any number of colleges or training providers.
To find out more and apply for funding from the FWDF, call Saffron Grant on 0845 519 5632 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
FWDF: OTHER THINGS TO REMEMBER
If the college you’re partnered with can’t provide the training you need to help you optimise the impact of funding, you can change to a different college.
The level of detail required depends on the size of your company. The application process is very quick and simple and your partner college will help you create a training plan, select the right training and complete the application.
The funding can be organised within a few weeks of the application.
You need to have a quite a clear idea of your needs at the time of applying. However, if some of the training is scheduled for later in the year, and your training needs change, e.g. an employee leaves the company before the training they are due to complete, there is a mechanism for requesting a variation.
The funding is paid direct to the training provider, so you don’t need to outlay the costs and then claim them back.