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Open Letter - Re-instate the Flexible Workforce Development Fund

5 February 2024

Open Letter to Members of the Scottish Parliament

Flexible Workforce Development Fund

We are a collective of Scottish businesses, representative organisations and colleges. We are urgently asking for the reinstatement of the Flexible Workforce Development Fund for Scotland’s colleges which has been removed from the Draft Budget for 2024/25.

The £10 million previously in place provides training opportunities to thousands of workers in Scotland. It is the only way some companies can upskill or retrain their workforce.

Potentially over 2,000 employers and 45,450 learners will miss out on training opportunities in 2024/25 if the Fund is not reinstated.

A recent evaluation underlines both the success of, and the incredibly good value for money for the public purse delivered through, the Fund. The Fund was the return on investment from a proportion of the Apprenticeship Levy which Scottish companies contribute to - where is the benefit to employers of paying the Levy if the opportunity to access college training places does not come back through the Fund?

Businesses including in the care sector, aerospace, construction, hospitality, law, and manufacturing have used the Fund to improve digital skills in their workforce, health and safety training, management courses and mental health awareness.

As the Draft Budget moves through the last stages of scrutiny at the Scottish Parliament we are urgently appealing for FWDF to remain as an essential avenue for Scottish workers to receive the upskilling and retraining that our economy needs. It must be reinstated into the Budget for 2024/25.

Any of us would be happy to discuss the importance of keeping FWDF firmly in place with you at any time.

Yours sincerely, the undersigned:

Allan Kerr, Director of People & Quality, Aberlour Child Care Trust
Gordon Irving, Managing Director, ABN Plumbing and Electrical
Sonia Riveiro, HR Manager, ABP
Kevin Quinn, Chair, Action Against Stalking
Bethany Kale, Central Support Manager, Argyll Homes for All
Eileen McFadden, General Manager, Arnold Clark Insurance
Angela Cox, Principal & CEO, Ayrshire College
Eilidh Ross, Bairds Malt
Rachel Payne, Managing Director, Bandrum Nursing Home
Alan Buchan, Operations Manager, Bannockburn House Trust
Mary-Margaret McGregor, Training, Health & Safety Manager, Baynes
Martin Welsh, Managing Director, Booth Welsh
Pete Smith, Principal & CEO Borders College
Alison Mitchell, Head of HR, Learning & Development, Bridgend Motor Group
Shirley McIntyre, Managing Director, BS Plumbing & Heating Services Ltd
Stephen Good, CEO, Built Environment Smarter Transformation
Matthew Wallace, Managing Director, Carindale Hotel & Spa
Rachel Cackett, CEO, Coalition of Care and Support Providers in Scotland
Paul Little, Principal & CEO, City of Glasgow College
Alisdair Barron, Chair, City of Glasgow College
Marie Hendry, CEO, College Development Network
Ken Thomson, Chair, College Development Network
Shona Struthers, Chief Executive, Colleges Scotland
Lesley de Jager, Director of People and Culture, Cornerstone
Fiona Adamson, HR Business Partner, CTDI
Gary Kimmins, Operations Manager, Dalkia EDF Group
Craig Martin, Human Resources Director, Dalkia EDF Group
Joanna Campbell, Principal & CEO, Dumfries and Galloway College
Simon Hewitt, Principal & CEO Dundee and Angus College
Lesley Watson, Learning & Development Manager, East Park
Audrey Cumberford, Principal & CEO, Edinburgh College
Andrea Bradley, General Secretary, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS)
Nile Istephan, CEO, Eildon Housing
Kelsey Matthew, Human Resources Manager, Ennovi
Stacey Dingwall, Head of Policy and External Affairs (Scotland), Federation of Small Businesses
Jacqueline MacLeod, Head of Human Resources, Ferguson Transport and Shipping
John Penman, Managing Director, FiFab
David Watt, Chair, Fife College
Jim Metcalfe, Principal & CEO, Fife College
Susie Urquhart, Geddes Group
Tony Fry, Director, George Leslie Ltd
Ian Patrick, Chair, Glasgow Clyde College
Jon Vincent, Principal & CEO, Glasgow Clyde College
Martin Boyle, Executive Director, Glasgow Colleges' Regional Board
David Newall, Chair, Glasgow Kelvin College
Derek Smeall, Principal & CEO, Glasgow Kelvin College
Susanna Gormley, Glenburnie Care
Zoe Adamson, HR Manager, Gretna Green Limited
Helen Young, Henderson Loggie Chartered Accountants
Novella Tragham, Head of HR & OD, Hillcrest Homes
Gordon McIntyre, Founding Chair, Hospitality Health
Catherine McWilliam, Nations Director - Scotland, Institute of Directors
Shirley McMinn, HR Manager, Jas P Wilson
James Rae, James Rae Heating Limited
Tom Stevenson, HSEQ Manager, Jarvie Plant Ltd
Laurie Murphy, Human Resources Manager, JTC Furniture
Shona Inkster-Fraser, HR Business Partner, Kettle Produce
Kristina Ansell, Service Coordinator, Kingdom Support & Care
Caroline Donaldson, Owner/Director, Kynesis
Nick Dietz, HR Manager, Lactalis UK and Ireland
Frazer Coupland, CEO, Lochaber Chamber of Commerce
Jenny Mackay, Director of Customer Services, Lochaber Housing Association
Lachlan McInnes, McInnes Group Ltd
Janice Russell, Managing Director, McTaggart Construction
Ross Hammell, McTaggart Construction
Martin Robertson, Health & Safety Manager, MPact Group
Donald Waring, Learning & Development Manager, Mowi
Katie Nairn, Nairn Construction
Ellie Gomersall, President, National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland
Roddy Henry, Principal & CEO, Newbattle Abbey College
Chistopher Moore, Principal & CEO, New College Lanarkshire
Neil Cowie, Principal & CEO, North East Scotland College
Susan Elston, Chair, North East Scotland College
Stephen Mathieson, Off the Back Barbers
Susan Stewart, Director, Open University Scotland
Jackie Simpson, Founder and CEO, OutLET
Iain Jurgensen, Managing Director, Portavadie Marina and Resort
Harry Locherty, Director, Priority Care
Fiona MacGillvray, Chair of Prosper Highland and Islands Area Committee, Prosper
Sara Thiam, CEO, Prosper
Alistair Dickson, Director of HR, Quarriers
Clare Beaton, Training & Development Manager, Real Care Agency
Ryan Brown, Managing Director, Robinsons and CWP Concrete
Gillian Munro, Principal & CEO, Sabhal Mòr Ostaig
Karen Meechan, CEO, ScotlandIS
Emily Grabowska, People & Culture Partner, Scott & Chaters
Julie Finnikin, Group Learning & Development Manager, Scott Group
Liz Cameron, CEO, Scottish Chamber of Commerce
Paul Sheerin, CEO, Scottish Engineering
Stephen Montgomery, Director, Scottish Hospitality Group
Mark Cowan, Director, Scottish Leather Group
Ewan MacDonald-Russell, Deputy Head, Scottish Retail Consortium
Sarah Wroe, Learning and Development Manager, Sense Scotland
Lynne Dignon, Regional Coordinator, SHARE Scotland
Beverly Alexander, HR Manager, Shaw Plant SQ
Lee Samuel, HR Manager, Silberline
Hugh Hill, Director of Services, Simon Community Scotland
Stella McManus, Principal & CEO, South Lanarkshire College
Wayne Powell, Principal & CEO, Scotland’s Rural College
Jane Smith, HR Manager, Smith Anderson
Zara Harvey, Office Manager, Stepford Contracts Ltd
Sean Sarafilovic, Joint Managing Director, Stephens Bakery
Gwilym Gibbons, Chief Executive, The Crichton Trust
Alistair Booth, CEO, The HR Booth
Ronnie Smith, Regional Chair, The Lanarkshire Board
Frank Sheach, The McGill Group Ltd
Gary Cooper, Managing Director, Tod Timber Engineering
Heather Thomson-Whyte, Head of People and Culture, Tradeprint
Angela Coburn, Human Resources Manager, TSL Contractors Ltd
Elaine Munro, Depute Principal, UHI Argyll
Chris O'Neill, Principal & CEO, UHI Inverness
David Patterson, Principal & CEO, UHI Moray
Debbie Miller, Vice Principal, UHI, North, West and Hebrides
Lydia Rohmer, Principal and Chief Executive, UHI North, West and Hebrides
Lilian Macer, Scottish Secretary, Unison
Derek Thomson, Scottish Secretary, Unite Scotland
Alastair Sim, CEO, Universities Scotland
Lilia Chatterjee, Training & Development Co-ordinator, University of St Andrews
Colin Kemp, Head of Learning & Development, Vets Now
Liz Connolly, Principal & CEO, West College Scotland
Waiyin Hatton, Chair, West College Scotland
Abigail Nelson, Operations Supervisor, Western Ferries
Alex Linkston, Chair, West Lothian College
Frank Sheach, Engineering Manager, Xplore Dundee Ltd
Mary Goodwin-Wilks, CEO, YMCA Glenrothes
Valerie Calder, Regional HR Manager, 2 Sisters Food Group

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