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Open University training launched for Scottish SMEs

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Small to medium-sized businesses across Scotland can benefit from up to £5,000 of online training through a new programme launched today (1 February 2021) by The Open University in Scotland.

The initiative supports SME businesses with training to boost productivity and growth in response to Covid-19. It is being rolled out following the £1 million commitment to The Open University (OU) in Scotland from the Scottish Funding Council’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund Phase 2.

Marie Hendry, Depute Director, External Engagement and Partnerships, at the OU in Scotland, said:

“This funding provides a great opportunity for those small and medium sized companies that are the lifeblood of the Scottish economy to develop their existing workforce as they respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, providing vital training as they adapt to new ways of working.

“Operating across Scotland and delivering high quality online training, The Open University is uniquely placed to help industry address national and regional skills gaps and support employers to develop in an ever-changing world of work.

“We know that Scotland’s SMEs have been particularly affected by the impacts of the COVID pandemic and these businesses and their people will play a crucial role in Scotland’s recovery.  Our tailored training plans will help SME companies to upskill and retrain their existing workforce to maximise the opportunities to restart and recover.”

The OU already provides skills and support to over 260 organisations from the Shetland Isles to Dumfries and Galloway benefitting over 900 employees. It is the first university to provide training for small to medium-sized businesses under the Flexible Workforce Development Fund.

Suzanne McQuade, Business Relationships Manager, said:

“We offer a highly flexible approach working with companies to understand their business challenges and shaping training and development to suit them. Staff can access our innovative online training in the workplace or from home at a time to suit while accommodating ongoing business operations. 

“We’d encourage any company across the private, public and third sectors to get in touch to discuss the delivery of a development programme that is tailored to the needs of your organisation.”

The Flexible Workforce Development Fund training offered by The Open University reflects existing Scottish skills gaps including leadership and business, digital and IT, health & social care and the green economy.

It will be delivered online through a range of short courses and modules, many of which are industry accredited and contribute to undergraduate or postgraduate credit. 

Small to medium sized enterprises, for this fund businesses with less than 250 employees, are advised to make an application as soon as possible, as access to the fund will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Training contract will be agreed by July 2021 and will be delivered by March 2022.

More information on the OU support for SMEs on the Flexible Workforce Development Fund webpage.

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