Sincere apologies for the length of this Huckfield briefing.

The following detailed sections seek to provide information for Scotland’s Further Education Colleges and others along similar lines to that previously provided in Huckfield briefings for Further Education and Higher Education in England.

Many of Scotland’s Colleges will be familiar with funding initiatives listed. No claim is made that this briefing is infallible or that it contains all that Colleges need to know about funding!

Since the Scottish Government’s Budget, proposed College regionalisation and reduced funding are not yet concluded, this briefing seeks to be policy-neutral. Further Huckfield briefings will report on latest developments.

Though information provided here is taken directly from source and attribution is made where appropriate, please feel free to add comments and suggest amendments below.

Because this is a long briefing, please click on the following headers to go straight to these sections:


This section provides an overall summary of the funding reductions now presented to Colleges and also includes the Cabinet Secretary’s response in the Scottish Parliament debate on Further Education on Thursday 02 February 2012.


This section presents a summary of achievements by Scotland’s Further Education Colleges.


This section summarises proposed overall funding reductions for Scotland’s Further Education Colleges.


This section highlights important points in the Scottish Government’s Pre Legislative Consultation. In September 2011, the Scottish Government published its Pre Legislative Consultation Paper “Putting Learners at the Centre:  Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education“.  In November 2011, Scotland’s Colleges published a “”Response to the Pre Legislative Consultation Paper: Putting Learners at the Centre”


This section highlights important points from the Scottish Funding Council’s proposals for implementation of “College Rationalisation: Proposals for Implementing Learners at the Centre“, together with the response and comments from Scotland’s Colleges in “Response to Proposals for Implementing Putting Learners at the Centre”


This section provides a brief summary of Education Maintenance Allowances and Colleges’ bursaries for students.


This section provides a summary of various Skills Development Scotland initiatives, including Individual Learning Accounts, Get Ready for Work, Training for Work, Modern Apprenticeships, with all of which Colleges will already be familiar.

A note is provided on Apprenticeship Training Agencies, based on the Australian model, which are expanding in England. Further SDS Initiatives including Flexible Training Opportunities, Employer Recruitment Initiative, Adopt an Apprentice and the Low Carbon Skills Fund, are summarised. There is also a note on additional support.


This section highlights some available local funds for skills development and apprenticeships. The Commonwealth Jobs Fund (Glasgow), Commonwealth Apprentice Initiative (Glasgow) and West Dunbartonshire New Employment Wage Subsidy are summarised. This is not an exhaustive list and information on other local initiatives will be posted in future Huckfield briefings.


This section includes examples from Adam Smith, Carnegie, Dundee, Edinburgh Telford and Inverness Colleges in a brief and not exhaustive summary of Colleges’ involvement in renewable energy development. Further College developments for onshore and offshore renewables and other funding which may be available will be reported in a future Huckfield briefing.


This section shows how several local authorities are now developing and formalising their policies and guidelines for Community Benefit. Though most Community Benefit policies provide specific allocations for local communities, some Councils are now developing Community Benefit policies to fund larger regional infrastructure, including skills development, on which this section focuses.


This section shows how organisations which operate nationally in Scotland are also developing Community Benefit policies. Scottish and Southern Energy (Scottish Hydro), Scottish Power and the Forestry Commission are examples of those with significant Community Benefit policies for renewable energy developments. Apart from applications from local communities, these policies will also focus on larger projects, including local skills development.


This section describes how Scotland’s Further Education Colleges may participate in and benefit from Higher Education Academy programmes below, if they are subscribers. The Higher Education Academy has recently started offering subscriptions to FE collages with HE provision. This was mentioned in the HEA’s recent HE in FE briefing

HEA supports various networks and provides resources, events and workshops relating to learning and teaching in Higher Education. HEA has an office in Edinburgh. HEA works with individual academic staff, subject discipline groups and senior managers to identify and share effective teaching practices in order to provide the best possible learning experience for all students.

HEA contact details are provided in this Section.


This section briefly covers proposals emerging from the European Commission about its 2014-20 Structural Funds, which are at an early stage of development. Scotland’s previous Objective One and Cohesion Fund Highlands and Islands Area may become a Transitional Area, thus retaining higher rates of intervention. Further developments will be highlighted in a future Huckfield briefing


This section covers a recent report published by Scotland’s Colleges. Frontline Consultants’ “Review of the Developing Employer Engagement Programme and Knowledge Transfer Grant” shows that Scotland’s Colleges have been highly successful with limited funding available for DEEP and Knowledge Transfer Grants.


In July 2011 the United Kingdom Commission for Employment and Skills published its “Review of Employment and Skills” in Scotland. Other reports, including the Scottish Government’s and Scottish Funding Council’s “Putting Learners at the Centre” consultations, emphasise a need for more employer involvement in the design and delivery of skills training. Various structures, including Skills Investment Plans, are currently being explored in Scotland to secure more employer participation and involvement. In England, Employer Ownership Pilots launched this week will project a new environment in which public funding acts as market maker rather than direct funder. Employers will be directly funded by purchase training from providers of their choice.

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Details of next year’s College spending were published in the Scottish Funding Council’s Circular “Indicative college sector financial decisions for academic year 2012-13” of Thursday 02 February 2012, including the following:

  • Colleges will see teaching budgets cuts by up to 8.5% under funding arrangements for next academic year.
  • The overall budget will be £499.6mn, reduced from £544.7mn.
  • No college will see its individual teaching budget cut by more than 8.5%, with student numbers being maintained.
  • Student support will be maintained at the 2011-12 baseline level, with £84.2mn allocated using the same formula.
  • A £15m Transition Fund has been set up to support mergers and federations.

Winding up the Scottish Parliament debate on Further Education on Thursday 02 February 2012, the Cabinet Secretary for Education said that:

  • from 2007 to the end of the current Spending Review, the Scottish Government will have invested £4.7bn in colleges – 40% more in cash terms than previously
  • NPD investment in colleges represents additional capital investment of £300mn
  • student numbers and college student support are being maintained
  • college student support has been increased by 25% since 2006-07, from £67.3mn to £84.2mn
  • unlike England, the Education Maintenance Allowance is protected
  • every 16 to 19-year-old will have a place in learning, with College places prioritised for 20 to 24-year-olds.
  • recent figures show that 88.9% of school leavers go to positive destinations

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Scotland’s Colleges are important. The Scottish Government’s “High Level Summary of Statistics Trend Last Update”, November 2011 showed that:

  • There were 347,336 students undertaking courses in the 43 SFC-funded colleges in Scotland in 2009-10, accounting for a total of 438,522 enrolments. Individuals may enrol on more than one course
  • In 2009-10, the number of FE students decreased by 33,915 from 301,692 students in 2008-09 to 267,777. However, the number of full-time students increased by 9% between 2008-09 and 2009-10, which resulted in a 1.5% increase in FE activity at Colleges. At FE level, in 2009-10, there were 47,630 full-time and 267,777 part-time students
  • The main reason for the high number of part time students at FE level is that many students are also in full time jobs or have other domestic responsibilities. The majority of these types of students are frequently enrolled on programmes with a vocational orientation
  • 95% of all the activity programmes in Scotland’s Colleges led to a recognised qualification. The latest figures for 2009-10 indicate that 23,221 HE qualifications and 95,178 FE qualifications were achieved by students studying at Colleges. Furthermore, 38% of enrolments by working age students in Scotland’s Colleges, had a direct involvement in industry and commerce in 2009-10.
  • In 2008-09, the most recent year for which SFC data is available, 41,243 FE students received support from bursary funds. This amounted to £67.4mn  of support, which in real terms meant an increase of 8.6% compared to academic year 2007-08 (£60.4mn).

This suggests that that around 8% of Scotland’s population is engaged with FE Colleges – a significant achievement.

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Commenting on Thursday 12 January 2012 following the announcement from the Scottish Government that funding losses to colleges would be capped at 8.5%, spokesperson John Spencer, Convener of Scotland’s Colleges’ Principals’ Convention said:

“The Scottish Government’s announced move to cap the level of cuts in the first year of the reform process at 8.5% is a helpful development.

“It is, however, important to restate that this will still be an 8.5% cut coming after a 10.4% cut in the current year. Colleges want to protect places, and committed to retain activity at the same level with the 10.4% cut this year, but we remain to be convinced as to how this may be achieved again”.

Published in September 2011, the Scottish Government’s Spending Review and Draft Budget 2012/12 at Table 9.06 on page 112 shows that the Scottish Funding Council’s Further Education Programme will be:

  • 2011/12 – £544.7mn
  • 2012/13 – £506.9mn
  • 2013/14 – £494.7mn
  • 2014/15 – £470.7mn

Though these figures may vary slightly, this represents a significant reduction in Scotland’s Colleges’ revenue budgets. The following page says “In 2012-13 we will embark on an ambitious programme of reform of post 16 education.”

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College Regionalisation

The Scottish Government intends far reaching changes in the organisation and funding of Colleges.

One of the key recommendations of the Scottish Government’s pre legislative policy document “Putting Learners at the Centre:  Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education” is at Section 133 on page 45:

“The financial pressures we face mean we can no longer afford a system of individual institutions (with all the managerial and academic overheads that entails) serving overlapping areas. Nor is it sensible to allow incoherent and unplanned provision to emerge, as sometimes happens through unilateral decision-making. Moreover …we need to strengthen the alignment between post-16 learning and jobs and growth.  We therefore need colleges,  in particular,  to come together collaboratively to achieve these benefits through federations, mergers or other innovative means”.

The pre legislative policy paper continues in Section 134 on page 45:

“A shift to regionalisation would still support local delivery and responsiveness to local need within the frameworks established at national and regional levels.  In developing such an approach, we will give specific consideration to mechanisms for protecting access-level provision locally”.

College Funding

Putting Learners at the Centre:  Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education” in Section 41 on page 18 says:

“We expect our training programmes to be of a high standard and to help individuals to progress towards sustainable employment or further learning. So it is important we continually review the performance of training providers, placing our trust in those with the strongest record of success. In that regard we need to encourage colleges to do more to provide flexible training and undertake long term provision alongside private providers. It is also important that, where appropriate, a significant proportion of funding is linked to outcomes that demonstrably help participants move towards sustainable employment. We will review current funding models and consider how we can use funding to improve performance”.

On page 54, Section 171 says on reforming funding:

“Given our wish to shift towards regionalisation of college provision, SFC funding for colleges should in future be based on the needs of a region, taking into account  the demographics and economy of the region in question.   The  SFC should also separately consider if there is specialist provision that should be funded nationally.  Regional funding of college provision should be bolstered by new requirements to make sure the needs of individual localities and communities within the region are properly taken into account.  There should be a simple, visible and public connection between the funding allocated and the outcomes that should be delivered in return”.

Scotland’s Colleges’ “Response to the Pre Legislative Consultation Paper: Putting Learners at the Centre” on November 29 2011  on pages 5 and 6 asks for regionalisation and funding changes to be introduced more slowly:

“Allocation of Funds to Regions: as a potential solution in ensuring provision for adult learners, we would propose amending the suggested criteria for regional funding allocations. The indicators proposed in the paper do not account for those aged over 24. We believe the criteria for funding should also include key indicators for older learners to ensure their needs are considered in funding and planning provision. However, it is important that a full equalities impact assessment is carried out before implementing any new formula”.

“Simplification of Funding Methodology: colleges support a simpler funding measure based on full-time equivalents (FTEs). However, changes in how student numbers are counted should not lead to a reduction in funding for delivering education to those students.”

“Outcome Agreements: Scotland’s colleges support the development of outcome agreements and, in broad terms, agree with the proposals for their negotiation and assessing performance. However, we believe that the target to have agreements in place for the next academic year by April 2012 is extremely challenging. The sector would also be agreeing to outcomes that were not known or planned for when decisions on provision were being made. With so many unresolved change proposals, any agreement should focus solely on plans for developing regional structures”.

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College Regionalisation

Section 2 on page 1 of the Scottish Funding Council’s Consultation Paper “College Rationalisation: Proposals for Implementing Learners at the Centre” in November 2011:

“Until now, funding from the SFC has been provided to individual colleges on a largely historical basis. In future, we think investment in the sector should be focused on the needs of a region – with those needs defined by the region’s socio-economic characteristics. We will expect colleges in a region to work together rather than independently to meet that need. We will make clear our expectations in an outcome agreement to be negotiated with the colleges in a region, with this agreement acting as the key mechanism for accountability. This approach represents a fundamental shift: from historically-based to needs based funding; from individual colleges to regional groupings; and from activity to outcomes”.

The Consultation defines regions in Section 10.The Consultation closed on Friday 23 December 2011.

Calculations for Regionalisation

Most interesting is the “College Regionalisation: Proposals for Implementing Putting Learners at the Centre” November 2011 which in its Sections 17, 18, 19 and 20 on ‘Estimating Regional Need’ explains how funding allocations will be based on regional socio economic data and population characteristics:

  • the number of the S3-S6 age group in school education. This reflects the Scottish Government’s commitment to the senior phase of the Curriculum for Excellence, including school-college activity
  • the numbers of 16-19 year olds not in school or university education and not participating in a national training programme;
  • the numbers of 20-24 year olds who are unemployed
  • the numbers of people of all ages with low qualifications in a region
  • travel to study/travel to work data – though this is relevant more for some regions than for others”

Scotland’s Colleges’ “Response to Proposals for Implementing Putting Learners at the Centre” says on page 8:

“If Putting Learners at the Centre is implemented as outlined in the consultation paper, there will be risks as funding is redirected and refocused away from skills and the economy to concentrate on 16-19 year olds not in education, training or employment. As Colleges, we have worked hard to provide the skills and training needed for the growth of the economy to all comers, of all ages, providing the skills and education our learners need to get a job, keep a job, or get a better job”.

Scotland’s Colleges’ Response continues on page 10:

“The indicators proposed in the consultation paper will impact on those aged over 25 including those attending on a part-time basis and those in employment. We would recommend that a full equalities impact assessment is carried out before reaching any conclusion”.

Section 19 of the SFC Consultation Paper “College Regionalisation : Proposals for Implementing Putting Learners at the Centre” says:

“We propose to include travel to study/travel to work data to take account of the fact that significant numbers of learners will wish to study outwith their region because of transport links, to reach specialist courses, work or lifestyle or learning choices. We expect local learning opportunities at access or lower SCQF levels to be available nearer to home, but that people may have to travel for higher level courses or more specialist provision”

Section 19 continues:

“Outcome agreements for such regions would require them to demonstrate they are not duplicating provision better provided in neighbouring regions, that they are co-operating with those regions to ensure coherent provision for students and that, where appropriate, they continue to provide nationally important specialist provision.”

“Though broadly supportive of the switch to regional outcome agreements, Scotland’s Colleges’ “Response to Proposals for Implementing Putting Learners at the Centre” on November 29 2011 on page 18 recognises difficulties in changing to a funding methodology based on regional Outcome Agreements:

“To help develop these agreements, Colleges will engage with other stakeholders (e.g. local authorities, SDS, enterprise networks and other community planning partners) to discuss joint planning to meet regional skills needs including the contribution of regional outcomes. However, there needs to be a more clearly defined strategic role for Colleges both within a region and nationally, and particularly in terms of their membership of Community Planning Partnerships.

“It is appropriate that SFC indicate key national priorities to include in each region’s outcome agreement, however, these should not be seen as the only targets driving funding as this would constrain a college’s ability to work flexibly to meet regional needs.

“We concur that agreements should be assessed against outputs and broader outcomes and would wish to ensure that this does not lead to an increase in the already costly, complex and administratively burdensome systems needed to currently monitor activities”.

Issues will arise around Outcome Agreements based on progression and employment and inclusion of those who will not find either of these easy.

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Education Maintenance Allowance Scotland

Scotland’s Further Education students and others are still able to benefit from an Allowance which no longer exists in England. There are serious effects from EMA withdrawal and its replacement by a narrower bursary system in England. EMAs in Scotland:

  • are available to eligible 16-19 year olds – currently those born between March 01 1992 and February 28 1996.
  • are available after reaching school leaving age
  • will stop on reaching a 20th birthday
  • can be paid for up to 3 years and up to 4 years for students with additional support needs

Depending on dependent children in a household, these are payable at £30 weekly for incomes up to £20,051 and £22,403.  To be eligible, students must have signed a Learning Agreement.

College Bursaries

Paid in addition to EMAs, individual College Bursaries may vary. The Aberdeen College Bursaries Advice  and Dundee College Money Matters are fairly typical.

Since some of these may face reductions, the National Union of Students Scotland is campaigning to ensure that their level should be preserved.


Individual Learning Accounts

Individual Learning Accounts represent a Scottish Government scheme offering up to £200 annually per annum towards the cost of a learning programme. The offer is available to all residents in Scotland who are over 16 years and have an income up to £22,000 a year.

  • Individual Learning Accounts ILA 200: £200 for courses such as SVQs and IT skills
  • Individual Learning Accounts ILA 500: £500 for part time qualifications at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels 7,8,9,10 and 11. These include a part-time higher education or professional qualification course such as a Higher National Certificate.  This is delivered through the Student Awards Agency for Scotland

This scheme can be utilised to assist individuals to gain additional skills and qualifications to gain and sustain employment.

Get Ready for Work

Get Ready for Work (GRfW) is a National Programme to upskill, develop and support young people who may not be ready or able to access a Modern Apprenticeship or further education and want to access sustainable employment or further education. This is delivered by a range of Colleges, local authorities and providers across Scotland.

The programme is available to 16-18 year olds and lasts for six months. Trainees receive a weekly training allowance and expenses

GRfW comprises training and work placements with employer partners. During work placement trainees will receive “on the job” training and development to further enhance employment prospects and gain sustainable employment. Typical College providers include Forth Valley College, Kilmarnock College and Motherwell College.

Training for Work 

Training for Work offers vocational training to anyone over the age of 18 who has been continuously unemployed for 13 weeks. Some are able to enter the programme immediately.

Following referral from JobCentre Plus, Training for Work provides skills in response to an industry’s specific needs. Training can be tailored to meet the needs of local employers, which offers a better chance of getting a job. City of Edinburgh Council is a typical provider.

Modern Apprenticeships

Modern  Apprenticeships offer anyone between the age of 16 – 19 paid employment combined with an opportunity to train for jobs at craft, technician and management levels.  This offers a way to gain skills and qualifications to start a career without having to study full time across a wide range of industries. MAs offer:

  • The occupational SVQ for the sector
  • Core Skills – skills to become a more flexible employee, able to adapt to constantly changing work Situations.  These skills are known as Core Skills and are:
  1. Communication
  2. Working With Others
  3. Numeracy
  4. Information Technology
  5. Problem Solving.

Modern Apprenticeships and their Frameworks are managed by the Modern Apprenticeships Group at Skills Development Scotland. Funding depends on age, SVQ Level and sector and may vary from just over £1000 to over £6000.  These payments assume provision of a contribution for the Apprenticeship Framework and Awarding Organisation.  There is a range of College examples from Ayr to Oatridge.

Apprenticeship Training Agencies

The Learning and Skills Improvement Service in England offers the “Guide to Setting Up an Apprenticeship Training Agency” . ATAs are apprentice recruitment agencies which then ‘hire out’ apprentices to employers – who then become “host employers”. This is based on the Australian model, where Group Apprenticeship Schemes are the largest employers of apprentices, with over 40, 000 apprentices, around 10% of the national total.

The ATA has the responsibilities of an employer and ensures the apprentice gets paid and receives appropriate on-the-job training. Formal training and assessment is delivered by a training provider with an existing apprenticeship contract.

For employers, ATAs offer an advantage since they conduct recruitment and matching apprentices for host employers, especially during current economic difficulties with uncertain order books and workloads. They also offer ongoing mentoring, especially to younger apprentices. If relationships with the host employer don’t work well, the ATA usually finds another apprentice or another training provider. For these services, the host employer pays the ATA the apprentice’s wages and an ATA management fee. The ATA deals with payroll, support and supervision of the apprentice and remains the legal employer. This has advantages, especially for SMEs, since the ATA and host employer work together to provide a good hosting match for the apprentice.

For Colleges, there may be some reluctance to pursue this since if the College as an ATA becomes an employer, the apprentice becomes a member of the College staff, with staff conditions attached. There may still be merit in further exploration of Colleges and other providers to become ATAs.

Flexible Training Opportunities

Employers up to a maximum of 150 employees can make applications for up to £5000 towards employee training costs with Flexible Training Opportunities. The Flexible Training Opportunities scheme offers up to a 50% contribution towards training costs (excluding training required by legislation or statute, including Health and Safety or inhouse delivery)

The employer can apply for funding up to 10 claims per annum, up to a maximum of £500 per claim. For example, this means that for training costs of £1,200, there will be a grant of £500. Eligibility conditions are:

  • Employers with up to 150 employees
  • Must have registered by Sunday 21 March 2012
  • Must have completed training by 30th June 2012
  • An employer can apply for funding for up to 10 claims.

The following two schemes are aimed at maintaining an employed status for apprentices,

Employer Recruitment Incentive

The Employer Recruitment Incentive offers businesses an incentive of up to £2000 when recruiting a Modern Apprentice or employee.

  • 16 to 19 year old who is recruited or has progressed to a Modern Apprenticeship from Wednesday 21 December 2011
  • Individuals aged 20 and more than 3 months unemployed starting a Modern Apprenticeship from Wednesday 21 December 2011
  • Also available for 16-19 year olds within 26b weeks of having completed Get Ready for Work and  TPA and for those leaving Training for Work entering employment.

Adopt an Apprentice

Adopt an Apprentice Modern Apprentices continue with their training in a new workplace. The scheme gives a financial incentive to employers who take on an apprentice who has been made redundant.

“The preferred option is to secure employment with an alternative employer to allow the apprentice to complete their training. Once a Training Provider has been made aware (either from the apprentice or the relevant employer) that an apprentice is being, or has been, made redundant because of the economic downturn, the Training Provider should take all steps to secure alternative employment either through their own contacts or by working with the relevant Sector Skills Council”.

Low Carbon Skills Fund

Energy businesses working to support a low carbon economy can access the Low Carbon Skills Fund for training to increase expertise in this growth area. This is available to businesses focused on developing skills in carbon reduction, installing and using renewable energy resources, and increasing energy efficiency which have no more than 250 employees.

The Low Carbon Skills Fund gives Scottish businesses with up to 250 employees the opportunity to apply for up to £12,500 towards employee training costs. It

  • provides funding for up to 25 episodes of training
  • provides 50% of training costs, up to a maximum of £500 per episode

A list of the types and levels of training that are eligible for support, including:

  • renewable energy, low carbon technologies and microgeneration
  • energy efficiency, environmental and clean technologies
  • waste management and reuse
  • reducing carbon in supply and energy management

Additional Support

SDS will also help parents/carers and young people to access advice and information on welfare benefits. Nevertheless, it is always advisable to seek expert advice from agencies which specialise in these areas. There is also the official UK Government Website or a local Jobcentre Plus advisor for the most up to date information.

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There are also various funds available to local residents and businesses:

The Commonwealth Jobs Fund (Glasgow) offers a  50% wage subsidy for 12 months up to a maximum of £6,507 for 35 hours a  week. Eligibility is for:

  • Glasgow residents only
  • SMEs with less than 250 employee
  • Additional jobs, not displacement
  • Permanent  jobs (minimum 18 month contract) 25-40 hrs per week
  • Glasgow living wage £7.15 per hr
  • 18-24 yrs unemployed 26 week (pre employment programmes accepted) available until 31st March 2013

The Commonwealth  Apprentice Initiative (Glasgow) offers a 50% wage subsidy for 12 months up to a maximum of £6,507 for 35 hours a  week. This means up to £8000 per employer for an apprentice. This is paid to employers in addition to contributions from Skills Development Scotland.

The West  Dunbartonshire New Employment Wage Subsidy offers a wage subsidy of up to pay of £140 per week for up to 13 weeks and offers a maximum of 50%  of gross pay. Eligibility is for:

  • West Dunbartonshire businesses & residents only
  • SMEs with less than 250 employees
  • 16-40 hrs per  week
  • Minimum wage & not exceed £7 per hr
  • Unemployed minimum 3 months over 3 year period
  • 16-19yrs  NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training
  • Additional employment opportunities not displacement

Other local funding which may be available will be reported in a future Huckfield briefing.

Local Additional Support Needs

There are also local support programmes for those with Additional Support Needs. A list of additional local support is provided through this link.

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More renewable energy developments are supported by Colleges and may provide further funding sources. These College examples do not represent an exhaustive summary of various Colleges’ involvement in renewable energy development. Further college developments for onshore and offshore renewables and other available funding will be reported in a future Huckfield briefing.

Adam Smith and the Hydrogen Office

There is a new partnership between Adam Smith College and The Hydrogen Office, established to provide expertise and innovation for energy education. Adam Smith and The Hydrogen Office have recently run school road shows in Fife for pupils aged 12 to 15 years, highlighting new energy sources and careers.

The Partnership will provide wider access to equipment and technological advances in the energy sector, with in-depth insight into new practices being used by companies.  Students studying renewables, construction and engineering courses may also get chance to work on special projects with The Hydrogen Office.

The College is also currently developing a Degree in Renewable Energy Technology with Abertay University.

Carnegie College and West Coast Energy

Carnegie College has close relationships with the renewables industry including with West Coat Energy for Renewable Energy Scholarships.

Up to six scholarships will be available to local young people to provide financial support for students studying Engineering and Renewables at the College, as well as providing mentoring aid supported by West Coast Energy. The company’s community benefit package of £3,500 per megawatt was revised following local consultation. The College has a campus at the Fife Energy Park, Methil, providing training for wind turbine technicians.

Dundee College

Dundee College has joined the Universities of Abertay and Dundee, Angus and Perth Colleges to form Energy Training East with Dundee Renewables, to harness expertise from Dundee City Council, Scottish Enterprise and Forth Ports, Skills Development Scotland and JobCentre Plus to pilot a training regime.

Edinburgh Telford College

Based at its new Granton campus, the College has a partnership with PPL Training for its Renewable Energies Training Centre.

Inverness College

Inverness College has its SEAM (Sustainable Energy And Micro-renewables) training centre for training and research in renewable energy and sustainable construction technologies, with support from the Scottish Government CARES programme, Community Energy Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and an EU Northern Periphery Partnership project called SMALLEST.

Scotland’s Colleges are represented on the Forum for Renewable Energy Development in Scotland (FREDS) Skills Group. 

Further examples of Colleges’ involvement in Renewable Energy Projects, developments and funding will feature in future Huckfield  briefings.

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With more onshore windfarms gaining planning consents and becoming operational, several local authorities are now developing and formalising their policies and guidelines for Community Benefit. Some examples are provided below. This is not an exhaustive list and further examples will follow in later Huckfield  briefings.

Since many local communities are affected by development of windfarms, this section recognises that most Renewable Energy Community Benefit funds rightly prioritise applications from local communities. Examples below show Community Benefit policies which are being developed for larger regional infrastructure funding, including skills development. Most of these are at an early stage and updates will be provided in further postings.

Dumfries and Galloway Council

Dumfries and Galloway conducted a Windfarm Community Benefit Framework Review in April 2011. “Windfarm Community Benefits. Revised Approach 2011 Information for Communities”  Section 7 refers to a Minimum Developer Contribution:

“The standard minimum rate of contribution is £5,000 per megawatt per annum based on the  installed/consented capacity of the windfarm. For example for a windfarm development with installed capacity of 25 megawatts, the community benefit fund would be £125,000 per annum. This rate will be index linked from 1st January 2011 based on the Retail Price Index”.

Windfarm Community Benefits Revised Approach 2011 Information for Developers” in Section 6 refers the establishment of a Regional Socio Economic Fund:

“50% of the funding will be ring-fenced for a Regional Socio-Economic fund. The purpose of this fund is to invest in social, economic and environmental projects that support a sustainable low carbon economy. Projects will seek to deliver in one or more of the following areas:

  • Business and skills
  • Environment and community
  • Cultural and tourism
  • Affordable housing
  • Community transport
  • Improved broadband connectivity

The region-wide fund will take applications from constituted community groups, communities, organisations including the public sector from across Dumfries and Galloway. Further information about the operation of this policy can be obtained from Dumfries and Galloway Council, Economic Development Service, Business and Enterprise Team on 01387 260078.

South Lanarkshire Council

South Lanarkshire was one of the first local authorities to set up a Renewable Energy Fund. With Whitelee and the other windfarms, Community Benefit practice in South Lanarkshire is now well established.

Renewable Energy Fund

The two options are:

  • Main renewable energy fund – grants over £10,000 up to 50% of total ‘eligible’ costs.
  • Local grant scheme – grants of less than £5,000 and up to 100% of total ‘eligible’ costs for smaller community-based projects

Application for financial assistance for projects within a 10km radius of participating renewable energy developments will be accepted from:

  • public organisations and agencies
  • partnerships, trusts, co-operatives and other non-government organisations
  • community groups, associations or organisations
  • any business, co-operative or other trading enterprise located, or offering a service benefiting communities, within a 10km radius of participating developments.

Applications will be considered from outside the 10km radius if it can be demonstrated that the people who will benefit live inside the eligible area. Any grants awarded would be proportional to the percentage of residents who would benefit from the project.

Argyll and Bute Council

Argyll and Bute Council has had a policy on Community Benefit since 2004, when it was decided by Councillors that the initial tariff would be £2000 per megawatt installed, with an additional £1000 per mW depending on annual output. The latest list of Argyll and Bute Community Windfarm Benefits gives an indication of distribution of these benefits.

Scottish Borders Council

Scottish Borders’ Council has issued a comprehensive toolkit “Achieving Community Benefit from Commercial Windfarms” on page 10 says:

“There are no hard and fast rules about the level of community benefit which can be achieved, but some real examples include: – Highland Council aims to achieve £4,000 to £5,000 per installed megawatt per year”

Highlands Council

On Highlands Council has also made clear its intention to maximise community benefit from windfarms, a policy to be launched on Friday 24 February 2012:

“Members also gave the go ahead for a new concordat to be established which will set out the terms of a new relationship between the Council and developers.  As part of this agreement it will be the Council’s responsibility to provide the framework and infrastructure for receiving and then disbursing Community Benefit and through which developers will agree to provide not less than £5,000 per installed megawatt annually that will appreciate each year in line with the UK Retail Price Index”

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As more windfarms receive planning consent, are being constructed and become operational, in addition to local authorities, other organisations are now formalising their approaches to Community Benefit associated with these developments. The following provides some Scottish national examples:

Scottish and Southern Energy (Scottish Hydro)

In November 2011 SSE announced details of a new Scotland Sustainable Energy Fund that could be worth more than £90 million over 25 years:

“The fund will be available for organisations promoting skills development, community energy schemes and improving the built and natural environment. The fund is in addition to the £150 million SSE has already committed to support community projects in Scotland over the 25-year projected lifetime of the company’s existing and planned wind farms”.

SSE’s commitment is based on a tariff of:

“£5,000 per megawatt for all new onshore wind farms constructed in Scotland from 1 January 2012. This will comprise £2,500 for local community initiatives and £2,500 per megawatt for the new Scotland Sustainable Energy fund”.

While all this is at an early stage, in future there may be substantial community benefit funding available for larger projects including skills development. As progress is made, there will be further Huckfield briefings.

Scottish Power

Scottish Power operates the Green Energy Trust, providing grants up to £25,000 for renewable energy with community benefit, including a wider educational element.

Forestry Commission Scotland

Forestry Commission Scotland is working with developers to build wind and hydro projects on national forest land. FCS has published a helpful guide to its thinking in “Opportunities for Community Involvement In Hydro or Wind Renewable Energy Development On the National Forest Estate“.

Forestry Commission Scotland deserve credit for setting the “benchmark tariff” of £5000 per installed   megawatt since this is becoming the standard tariff for wind farm community benefit across Scotland.

The Opportunities for Community Benefit document shows selected developers for Hydro and Wind Generation Lots across Scotland. The developers will engage with local communities about processing Community Benefit. All this is still at an early stage of development. But further information will be posted in future Huckfield briefings as soon as it becomes available, especially where developers follow precedents above of allocating benefits available into local community and strategic projects.

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Further Education Colleges may participate in and benefit from Higher Education Academy programmes below, if they or individual staff are subscribers or HEA recognised professionals (see below).

The Higher Education Academy has only recently started offering subscriptions to FE Collages with HE provision. This was mentioned in the HEA’s recent HE in FE briefing

All HEA programmes are open to Scottish institutions – with the one exception of the National Teaching Fellowship Scheme, which is currently only open to institutions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information about subscription rates, Colleges should e mail Dr Andy Jackson, HEA’s Head of Business Development for further information.

The Higher Education Academy is a national and independent organisation, funded by the four UK HE funding bodies and by subscriptions and grants. The HEA Strategic Plan 2012-2016  shows expertise and resources to support Higher Education to enhance the quality and impact of learning and teaching. HEA supports various networks and provides resources, events and workshops relating to learning and teaching in Higher Education for 28 different disciplines. HEA has an office in Edinburgh.

HEA works with individual academic staff, curriculum discipline groups and senior managers to identify and share effective teaching practices in order to provide the best possible learning experience for all students.

HEA’s work is focused in three main areas – Academic Practice Development; Teacher Excellence; and Institutional Strategy and Change. “Support and Services to Higher Education: 2011 and Beyond” provides an overall summary of HEA activities.

Funding and Programmes

Though not all programmes are currently open for bidding the following represent examples of possible funding from HEA:

Professional Recognition

The Professional Recognition Scheme contributes towards the professionalisation of teaching by conferring the status of Associate Fellow, Fellow, Senior Fellow or Principal Fellow.

Teaching Development Grants 

For Teaching Development Grants over the next year there will be a total of £1.5 million of funding available for individual grants, departmental grants and collaborative grants on the themes of internationalisation or employability. Development Grant funding exists to stimulate evidence-based research and encourage innovations in learning and teaching that have the potential for sector-wide impact.

The closing date for an Individual TDG Application Form is Sunday 19 February 2012.

The Collaborative Grant themes are internationalisation or employability. A total of £570,000 will be available with a maximum of £60,000 per project. Project duration will be 18 months. Collaboration may be cross institution and/or interdisciplinary. The project lead must be a Fellow of the Academy.

The application process for TDG Collaborative Grants opens on Monday 27 February 2012 and closes on Sunday 22 April 2012.

Change Academy 

Submissions are now open for Change Academy 2012. The HEA, in partnership with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education, seeks submissions from HE institutions across the UK interested in taking part in the year-long Change Academy programme. Change Academy is a flagship programme designed to support institutions as they implement complex change projects to enhance the student learning experience. There is a Change Academy Guidance and Proposal Form. The closing date for submission is Friday 02 March 2012.


Connections: Pilot Projects Supporting Internationalisation The Higher Education Academy, in partnership with the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA), invites institutions to submit applications for funding to support projects which will:

  • enhance the teaching and learning experiences both for international students studying in the UK and home students in the context of internationalisation
  • promote intercultural understanding to prepare students for employment in a global context.

Bidding for the last deadline closed on Monday 30 January 2012.

There is a handy summary of all HEA Funding Opportunities, including links to the following:

As mentioned previously, the Higher Education Academy has a specific Higher Education in Further Education section and directory.

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 2014-20 Funding Proposals

Though at an early stage of development, the European Commission’s proposals for regional, employment and social policy is beginning to take shape. The Commission’s main points of interest concerning future funding are based on a Common Strategic Framework. 

European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund will be brought together under a Common Strategic Framework.

Europe 2020

The objectives of the programme will be aligned to objectives of Europe 2020 which are:

  • 75% of the 20-64 year-olds to be employed
  • 3% of EU’s GDP to be invested in Research, Development and Innovation
  • Greenhouse gas emissions 20% lower than in 1990
  • 20% of energy from renewable sources
  • 20% increase in energy efficiency
  •  Localism: Emphasis has been placed on encouraging the development and delivery of programmes at a more local level. This is demonstrated by:
  • Joint Action Plans: The development and delivery of a group of projects with a minimum public contribution of €10 million, to defined targets and outputs carried out under the responsibility of the beneficiary. A Member State, managing authority or any designated public body can submit a proposal for a Joint Action Plan.
  • Integrated Territorial Investment: Where an urban development strategy or other territorial strategy requires an integrated approach involving investments under more than one priority axis of one or more operational programmes; essentially combining ESF, EAFRD and ERDF money.
  • Community Led Local Development: led by local action groups composed of representatives of public and private representatives, with no single interest group of public sector organisation having more than 49% of the voting rights.

ERDF Priorities

  • 20% on Energy efficiency & renewables
  • 60% on research & innovation and competitiveness of SMEs
  • Improving access to and quality of information and communication technologies
  • Climate change and moves towards a low-carbon economy
  • Services of general economic interest
  • Telecommunication, energy, and transport infrastructures
  • Enhancing institutional capacity and effective public administration
  • Health, education, and social infrastructures
  • 5% on Sustainable urban development

ESF Priorities

  • Employment promotion
  • Investment in skills, education and life-long learning
  • 20% on Social inclusion and the fight against poverty
  • Enhancing institutional capacity and efficient public administration

Progress so far  

On Monday 19 December 2011 there was a “Future Scottish EU Programmes Roundtable” in Glasgow, to share preliminary thoughts on a possible 2014-20 EU Programme:

“Discussion took place on the targeting proposed by the European Commission and the expected reduction of funds to approximately two‐thirds of current levels.  The Commission is proposing that 52% of funds should be targeted on ESF.   Currently only 42% of the LUPS Programme is targeted on ESF for example, meaning in the future Programme ERDF will proportionally take the larger share of cuts”.

“The proposed prescriptive allocations for 80% of possible activity to be spent on RTD & Innovation; SME Competitiveness; and Low Carbon activities alongside, a target of 15% to be spent on financial instruments and 5% for integrated urban development, means we need to be clever about  integrating these percentages across/within the themes.    It was noted that the prescriptive allocations would be something a number of Member States would challenge during the negotiations, so could be subject to change.

“There was general agreement that the three pre‐selected ERDF themes are largely those we ought to be looking at, but need to build in maximum flexibility to fund things across the themes within one operational programme and to enable future unknown priorities to be accommodated”.

The note from the meeting also says that:

“Consideration should be given to removing restrictions on the retention of revenue funds, making staff and overhead costs eligible expenditure, aligning known national funds and making it easier to use private sector funds as means to improve match funding”

With 60% of ERDF funds prioritised for research, innovation and competitiveness of SMEs, 20% for Energy Efficiency and Renewables and 5% for Sustainable Urban Development, this leaves 15% for ERDF other services and access. This means that Higher Education and Business Support organisations may feature as applicants, assuming that State Aids implications can be clarified.

Transitional Areas

The EU’s Cohesion Policy 2014-2020 proposes that 11.6%  or €38.9bn of Structural Funds should be spent on Transition Areas. These will be NUTS 2 regions whose GDP per capita is between 75% and 90% of the average GDP of the EU 27 Countries.

There will obviously be much discussion about the EU’s proposed Transition Regions – those in between less developed (Convergence) and more developed (Cohesion) Regions in the present programme.  In Scotland this includes the area in the current Highlands and Islands Programme.

More developed areas (the current Cohesion Areas, including Scotland’s LUPS Programme area) should receive 15.8% or €53.1bn.

Though there is much still to be discussed, all this means that Scotland’s previous Objective One Programme area might continue to receive higher levels of EU funding. Further developments will be reported in future Huckfield briefings.

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In November 2011, Frontline Consultants completed a Review of the Developing Employer Engagement Programme and Knowledge Transfer Grant, which has recently been published by Scotland’s Colleges. This Review shows that Scotland’s Colleges have been highly successful with limited amounts of DEEP and Knowledge Transfer Grant funding. On page 18:

“We have excluded the lower impact data from our aggregation to avoid double counting:

  • In 2008, net employment impact was estimated at 253, 120 and 103 jobs respectively for the year 1, 2 and 3 surveys.  This suggests that net employment attributable to the programmes in that year could have reached 476 net jobs.
  • Net GVA impact can be aggregated across the three surveys to cover the five year period 2006-10.  We discounted all the impacts back to 2006 using the HM Treasury discount rate of 3.5%.
  • This suggests that over the five year period 2006-10, £23.65m (PV) of net GVA impact could be attributable to the college employer engagement programmes (Table 5.5).  This is an average of £4.73m net GVA (PV) per year.

All this shows that comparatively small amounts of targeted funding for Scotland’s Colleges produces very good results.

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A series of reports in Scotland and England have called for greater involvement of employers in the design and delivery of skills. Under Employer Ownership Pilots in England, employers will directly receive public funding to purchase training and skills from providers.  These new pilots may provide relevant experience for Scotland.

UK Commission for Employment and Skills “Review of Employment and Skills”

In July 2011 the United Kingdom Commission for Employment and Skills published its “Review of Employment and Skills” in Scotland.

On page 25 under “Customer Focus: What is the Challenge”,  the Report said:

“…………… Although there is evidence of customer involvement in design and delivery of provision in the skills system, and employer involvement in co-design of services for large-scale recruitment, this is not a regular and consistent feature across the whole range of employment and skills services. ………There is limited customer consultation in design and delivery of programmes, offering very few opportunities for customers to influence or develop and take control of their own innovative and positive employment solutions”.

Review of Post-16 Education and Vocational Training in Scotland

To ensure more employment engagement and involvement, Willie Roe’s detailed “Review of Post 16 Education and Vocational Training in Scotland” in August 2011.  On page 49 he said that the UKCES Report represents a “call to action for:

“Employers to engage more effectively with local partners that deliver employment and skills services, clearly signalling their needs and becoming involved in the design and delivery of provision”

Review of Vocational Education – The Wolf Report

Though this Report covers provision in England, this section is relevant to Scotland. Alison Wolf’s “Review of Vocational Education” was published in March 2011. Prof Wolf on page 143 writes:

“Indeed our third major objective should be to recreate and strengthen genuine links between vocational education and the labour market; and especially, in the case of young people, the local labour market. Employers are the only really reliable source of quality assurance in vocational areas, and, in spite of lip service, have been progressively frozen out of the way vocational education operates”.

“Review of Post-16 Education and Vocational Training in Scotland”

In August 2011, on page 71 Willy Roe’s Report recommends the creation of Business Education Networks at local level:

“At the level of each local authority (or combination of local authorities) there should be established a Business-Education Network to co-ordinate and extend the wide range of connections that exist (or will be created in the coming years) between businesses, schools, colleges, and training providers. Some places in Scotland already have a vehicle of this kind. The Networks should be co-funded from the private and public sectors”.

“Preparing Learners in Scotland’s Colleges for Employment or Further Study”  

Preparing Learners in Scotland’s Colleges for Employment or Further Study” August 2011 is an aspect report on provision in Scotland’s Colleges by HM Inspectors on behalf of the Scottish Funding Council. The Report says on page 17:

“However, in many subject areas in many colleges, advisory groups are not effective in bringing employers and programme teams together for the benefit of the college, employers and learners”.

In recommendations on page 25:

“Scotland’s Colleges should:

  • consider how best they can collaborate in meeting the need for workforce development, given that only 23% of employers in the SESS used a college for workforce training.

“Putting Learners at the Centre: Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education” 

Following this, the Scottish Government’s “Putting Learners at the Centre: Delivering our Ambitions for Post-16 Education published in September 2011 on page 31 said:

“Employers consider  their needs are  not sufficiently well articulated; that institutions are insufficiently responsive and flexible in terms of where, how and what is delivered; and, therefore, we are not well placed to anticipate and respond to current and future labour market demand.”

On page 32 the Scottish Government’s pre legislative paper continued:

“We will improve this situation, where necessary looking at radically alternative models which put employers in the driving seat”

Following these references above to the need for more employer involvement, various structures, including Skills Investment Plans, are currently being explored and developed in Scotland to secure more employer participation in vocational training and skills delivery.

Employer Ownership Pilots 

These following paragraphs on proposed Employer Ownership Pilots in England are included since they may have relevance for future Scottish Government policy.

On Thursday 17 November 2011, the UK Business Secretary Vince Cable announced their Employer Ownership Pilots initiative for England. Under the proposed £250mn programme, employers will be given the power to design, develop and purchase the vocational training they need.  Vince Cable said then:

“We have to fundamentally alter the relationship between employers and the state – giving employers the space and opportunity for greater ownership of the vocational skills agenda, including the chance to bid for direct control of public funds”

“Employer Ownership of Skills” 

Part of the Scottish Government’s intentions may be guided by the UK Commission on Employment and Skills publication of “Employer Ownership of Skills” published on Tuesday 13 December 2011.

Employer Ownership Pilots represent the start of a phased gradual withdrawal of public funding for employer led training and a new environment where through UKCES and the Skills Funding Agency, public funding acts as market maker. Innovative suggestions include a public funding role in employer training as underwriting, as guarantor or for reducing risk.

The Coalition Government’s wider rationale is that 60% of employers use private training providers. For provision in England the Government will now encourage employers to take ownership of their training agenda. This means moving from provider funding, based on qualifications, to employer-based structured investments and loans to leverage additional outcomes and work experience and moving from provider led to employer owned workforce development.

Section 6 of the UKCES “Employer Ownership of Skills” policy document says:

“Public investment will be provided directly to businesses, sitting alongside businesses’ own private investment, rather than following the mainstream public funding model.

“As part of the pilot, employers will be asked to demonstrate how public investment would be used to leverage business investment and  commitment to raising skills levels in their sector, supply chain or local area and how they will support Apprenticeships”.

None of the above seeks to project that similar policies will follow in Scotland, or that this could be one of the “radically alternative models which put employers in the driving seat”, to which “Putting Learners and the Centre” on page 32 refers. However, whichever direction is followed, what is happening in England is surely relevant?


Finally, many grateful thanks are owed if you’ve persisted and read through all this and think it’s the end. In reality, it’s probably only just the beginning.

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