Students will benefit from better job prospects as top-up funding for colleges will protect student places, improve skills and ensure courses match employers’ need, according to the Scottish Government.
A new programme, managed by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), will provide at least £13.1m to deliver the Government’s commitment to protect student places. It will also contribute to the Government’s ongoing post-16 education reform, including college courses that better support young people into work.
All colleges will be able to bid for a share of the funding from next week, with a proportion made available in college regions where student demand most significantly exceeds current provision.
In a statement at the end of March, Education Secretary Michael Russell said: “Our colleges offer a wide range of courses and help many young people on the path to employment. By organising on a regional basis, Scotland’s colleges will be able to better align their courses and training to local and regional economic need.
“This new investment in skills will both meet our commitment to protect college places and will give young people the option of college courses which meet their aspirations and employers’ needs.
“All colleges will be able to bid for a share of this funding. I encourage them to do this with their local partners, and with creativity and rigour.
“A share of the resource will be earmarked for those areas where we have already signalled there is the greatest mismatch between current provision and student demand. Quite rightly the programme will place a very clear focus on securing successful outcomes.
“I know our colleges are committed to offering provision that builds on the skills of our young people, the £500m of existing funding we provide. They are also working with local employers to develop the skills learners need for work and this funding will help maximise these efforts.” John McClelland, Chair of the Scottish Funding Council and Skills Development Scotland said: “This innovative funding model is designed to target the outstanding expertise of Scotland’s colleges at the gaps in learner and employer needs. It further supports the outcome-focused training provision of colleges for the benefit of learners and Scotland’s economy.”