Scottish Government to futureproof construction careers with new funding



The construction industry is to receive support through the Scottish Government’s £25 million National Transition Training Fund as part of efforts to help key sectors where employment has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund will support retraining projects for careers in areas particularly hit, including aviation, construction and tourism. It will also help with career transition into areas of the Scottish economy with most potential for future growth, such as digital and green technologies.

Some of the projects to receive a share the fund have been announced by minister for business, fair work and skills, Jamie Hepburn.

Mr Hepburn said: “The pandemic has had significant impact on our economy and we know this is a worrying time for people. We will continue to do everything we can to protect jobs and ensure that people faced with redundancy can get back to work as quickly as possible.

“The National Transition Training Fund plays a key role in this and is targeted at those who have either lost their job or are at risk of redundancy as a result of COVID-19. It will help up to 10,000 people across Scotland retrain and develop the skills they need to secure their future employment.

“Crucially, this fund will not only help those working in sectors most affected by the pandemic and whose livelihoods are at risk, it will also support people to take advantage of jobs available in growth areas of the Scottish economy, which will help us in our transition to net zero.

“As we recover from the pandemic, we must create a stronger, more resilient, sustainable economy. Ensuring people have the right skills to futureproof their careers is crucial in achieving that goal.”

The fund is administered by Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council and is delivered by a mix of private training providers and colleges. 

Katie Hutton, director of National Training Programmes at SDS, said: “The National Transition Training Fund is playing an important role in helping more people access jobs in the growth areas of our economy.

“This benefits not only those individuals who are gaining new skills to get back to work, but employers in key sectors who are able to recruit from a larger pool of talent.

“Together with other measures such as the Young Person’s Guarantee and the Flexible Workforce Development Fund, it will help our economy emerge as strongly as possible from the pandemic.”

James Dunphy, director of access, learning and outcomes at the Scottish Funding Council, said: “The National Transition Training Fund will be a crucial part of Scotland’s economic recovery from the effects of the global pandemic. It will also provide a significant skills boost to Scotland’s industries of the future. Colleges are well positioned to help deliver the priorities the new fund seeks to address, and they will have the full support of the Scottish Funding Council in doing so.”

Some of the projects to receive funding include:

Energy Efficiency Transition Support and Heat Training

This fund is to help support construction industry professionals with upskilling in support of our ambitions to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, de-carbonise heat and support EV charging.  There are also opportunities for new entrants to the construction industry.

Forestry Hauliers Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) Training

Addresses a gap in training for forestry haulage by upskilling existing drivers, as well as attracting and training new forestry hauliers.

Digital Start Fund - Digital Expansion

The Digital Start Fund, which assists those on low incomes or in receipt of benefits to gain digital qualifications and enter the labour market, has now been expanded so that training providers can offer additional placements, and opened up to include recent graduates for 2020/21.

Employer Catalyst Fund for Digital Skills

SDS and SDI are jointly delivering a programme which will award funding to businesses with innovative digital technologies to provide bespoke in-house training, meaning employees can be upskilled while allowing businesses to retain IP and confidentiality.

Manufacturing & Industry Skills 4.0

This supports the reskilling and upskilling of workforces from manufacturing companies with a particular focus on improving efficiency and competitiveness through industry 4.0 techniques and processes. It also includes the delivery of specific training courses in aircraft decommissioning and introduction to electrification.

Aerospace Diversification Skills

This targets the reskilling and upskilling of workforces from aerospace companies to enable them to target adjacent markets, as well as support activity in relation to sustainable aviation. This aligns with priorities identified by the Aerospace Response Group and wider government ambitions of a low carbon economy.

Grey Matters

This seeks to develop innovative start-ups based upon the delivery of an intensive 16 week programme targeted at Aerospace professionals with extensive knowledge and experience of the sector.

The Stove Network Creative Place Employability & Start-Up Programme

A person-led approach to co-design and delivery on employability, sector and meta-skills development. Provides routes to work and creative business start-up across the local rural creative economy.

Redesigning Rural

Alumni from the rural leaders programme will support transfer of skills between enterprises and rural talent, and connect people with successful businesses to create job opportunities.

Seafood Transformation: Management Development and 4.0

Supports the resilience and protection of jobs in the seafood sector to maintain a skilled workforce through targeted support to upskill and reskill.

Rural Springboard for Skills

Aims to increase and diversify Scotland’s training instructor network for land-based, aquaculture and other rural industries, supporting a safe, skilled and vibrant rural workforce and economy.

Skills development in COVID-19 Testing

Upskilling and reskilling people to become sample handlers and lab technicians to meet NHS testing requirements. 

Microcredential upskilling courses

Short modularised programmes at post graduate level with industry accreditation. Courses would also be ‘stackable’ to build towards a degree qualification.