Investing in skills development to restart and rebuild

Investing in skills development to restart and rebuild

We have been living and working within unprecedented times with every individual, business, organisation, and sector touched by the pandemic. 

As we move through this next chapter of restarting and rebuilding, safeguarding and recreating jobs through targeted upskilling and reskilling will be critical for Ayrshire and Scotland’s economic recovery. Now, more than ever, we need to prioritise our people, ensure their health, safety and wellbeing and provide them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to enable them to adapt and thrive. 

The pandemic forced many businesses and individuals to transition into a digital world - many almost overnight. From working to learning and socialising – we have essentially been living a virtual life in more ways than we could have imagined a year ago. For some, the learning curve has been steep – it’s a big jump from working in an office to spending days communicating and collaborating online. Covid-19 has shone a bright light on the importance of digital skills across the workforce and our wider communities. Digital upskilling is not a matter of choice - to remain relevant, many will need to ramp up their digital skillsets. Equipping employees with relevant digital and wider skills-sets is key and, as we embark upon this critical chapter, Ayrshire College is well placed to support employers. 

Over the past year, we have supported many employers looking to fill critical skills gaps fast to keep business running, either by upskilling, reskilling, and redeployment to different parts of their business. The Scottish Government has made £17m available to colleges and many large companies and SMEs are benefiting from the Flexible Workforce Development Fund. Funds remain available and we are keen to work with employers to invest in their people and fully utilise support at a critical period for the region and the economy. 

It is understandable that following a significant period of disruption, identifying training needs and releasing staff may not, on face value, be the most attractive proposition. However, our people are vital for ongoing success and we urge employers to make this investment now to reap benefits in the short, medium, and long term. 

COVID-19 has significantly disrupted our lives and we are now operating within a fundamentally different world requiring new thinking, skills, and knowledge. The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for change for many businesses and organisations, including education, making us rethink, reimagine and reinvent. Investing in people now and in the future must be at the heart of our economic recovery. Ayrshire College is open for business and ready to help restart and rebuild. 

To find out more about the Flexible Workforce Development Fund visit

23 March 2021

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