Supporting post-Covid recovery in the voluntary sector through developing in-demand skills
Through the Flexible Workforce Development Fund, organisations across Scotland with less than 250 employees – including those in the third sector – can now access funded training up to the value of £5,000, delivered by The Open University (OU). In this article, Suzanne McQuade, Business Relationships Manager (Scotland), talks about why this fund is so important.
As we cautiously emerge from lockdown and plan to ‘Build Back Better’, how can the third sector use skills development to support recovery? And, in a landscape characterised by diverted resources, diversified delivery and dwindling reserves, how can they do so affordably?
Many of Scotland’s third sector organisations need to upskill and reskill their workforce – staff and volunteers – now more so than ever due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it looks certain that they are going to need to work harder and smarter, doing more with less. This will inevitably impact on budget for training and development.
The Flexible Workforce Development Fund (FWDF) is a Scottish Government initiative with the latest phase launched to help small to medium-sized organisations develop skills to boost productivity and growth post pandemic.
What skills are most in demand?
The pandemic has accelerated the pace of digital change for the third sector. Organisations have had to get to grips with new technology quickly, for communication and service delivery. For those that need to build on their recent digital developments, staff training will be on the agenda.
Leadership and management skills also remain in high demand with a focus on resilience, agility and managing through change. The third sector has often struggled to attract and retain top talent due to lower salaries and benefits. However, to face an uncertain future effectively, charities need effective leadership.
The pandemic has also shone a light on health and social care and how skills in this sector are critical to the welfare of all society – and we should not forget the urgent and ongoing challenge for organisations to be more sustainable.
What training is available?
Eligible organisations will be supported to develop a bespoke training plan, with the courses being delivered online through the OU’s innovative learning platforms. It is a highly flexible way to access the training organisations need – in the workplace or from home.
There is a lot of choice with course types at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including short courses, modules, microcredentials, as well as industry recognised or accredited provision.
What are the benefits?
The FWDF enables organisations to address critical skills shortages, supporting them to restart, recover and renew in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Organisations can upskill and reskill both staff and volunteers, getting them ready for any challenges that lie ahead and importantly, to equip them to respond to the increased pressures on service delivery.
Find out more
The Open University invites you to join an exclusive webinar on Wednesday 9th June 10:00-11:00 to find out more: register here
Suzanne McQuade is Business Relationships Manager (Scotland) for The Open University