Staff joining social care to have fees waived

SSSC registration and PVG checks to be funded.

New staff joining the social care workforce are to have entry costs paid by the Scottish Government until the end of March.

Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) checks and Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration will now be funded to help encourage more staff into the profession and address winter staffing pressures.

The scheme starts today and will include staff taking up direct care posts in adult social care, along with comparable roles in children’s social care services and the justice sector.

It has been introduced following discussions with COSLA and will cover local authority, private and third sectors.

Social care minister Kevin Stewart said:

“Care workers have been absolutely critical to our pandemic response, giving vulnerable people the care they need and avoiding further pressure falling on the NHS.

“This trial aims to assist easing winter pressures in this sector by removing any financial barriers that may stop people from applying for a rewarding career in care.

“There are  significant pressures in social care due to high vacancy levels and increased demand. I hope this support will encourage those considering joining this vital workforce to go ahead and do so.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners to identify all possible ways we can assist the social care sector to aid recruitment and retention within the workforce at this critical time.”

Achieving net zero is the future – actions to take now for a greener business

Net zero. Make it your business.

As we all race to tackle the climate crisis, reducing carbon emissions and achieving net zero is the future – for our planet, and for your business.

Scotland’s enterprise agencies and public sector partners offer a wide range of support, guidance, and funding to businesses looking to begin or progress their journey to net zero.

We all need to take action now, and we’re here to help. Visit to access all of the resources you need to take the next step.

Take action for a greener business

Here are the top 5 actions your business can take to reduce emissions to help tackle the global climate emergency and work towards achieving net zero.

Find out more >

Funding for your net zero project

Loans up to £100k are available to help you pay for energy and carbon-saving upgrades in your business. You could also receive a cashback grant of up to £20k.

Find out more >

Upskill your workforce

The Green Jobs Workforce Academy from Skills Development Scotland can help people take a greener approach to their careers. Packed full of learning and training resources, it can help your workforce acquire new skills and adapt to greener jobs.

Find out more >

Business Support Updates – 29 September 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19): vaccine certification scheme – information for businesses and event organisers

How the vaccine certification (or COVID passport) scheme will operate and what venues, businesses and event organisers need to do. The new regulations come into force at 5am on Friday 1 October 2021.

Find out more

Improving ventilation to tackle COVID-19

Business premises will be able to access a £25 million package to improve ventilation and reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.

Find out more

Grants for tenants in rent arrears

The grants will help tenants who are struggling financially as a direct result of the pandemic, allowing them to reduce or pay off their rent arrears. They will be available to tenants in both the private and social rented sectors.

Find out more

Virtual event: Scottish Business Week – 18-22 October 2021

Discover a virtual festival of Scottish business. No matter the size or sector of your company, you’ll get advice, guidance and inspiration as you prepare to build a brighter future. Choose from a variety of events, webinars, expert panels and masterclasses on topics such as selling online and business start-up advice.

Register to attend

Apply for a grant to help small and medium-sized businesses new to importing or exporting

The SME Brexit Support Fund could give you up to £2,000 to help with training or professional advice, if your business has up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover.

You can use the grant for training on:

  • how to complete customs declarations
  • how to manage customs processes and use customs software and systems
  • specific import and export related aspects including VAT, excise and rules of origin

It can be used to help you get professional advice so your business can meet its customs, excise, import VAT or safety and security declaration requirements.

Find out more and apply here.

Long Covid – Social Care Support Fund

Members had brought the issue of if workers with long covid can access the Sociadl Care Support Fund during our Covid-19 surgery. We received the response below from the Scottish Government.

To clarify the position on long covid, and the maximum time period workers can receive support from the Fund. Provided that all the eligibility criteria have been met, the Fund can be accessed for a period of absence of up to four weeks after a diagnosis of coronavirus. If after four weeks the staff member is experiencing long term effects of coronavirus, known as ‘long covid’ and is unable to return to work, employers can apply to furlough the staff member for the remainder of the absence period. Providers can be directed to the following link for more details on the furlough scheme: Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – GOV.UK (

Flexible Workforce Development Fund – Open University

The Open University in Scotland

 Supporting Small to Medium-sized Enterprises

Many of Scotland’s small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to upskill or reskill their workforce – now more so than ever before, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Open University’s Business Barometer 2020 report shows that 60% of employers in Scotland continue to struggle to find the skills needed to fill vacant roles.  Some report taking more than 26 months to fill vacancies.

Many have opted to recruit temporary staff.  A very costly, short-term approach, Scottish employers spent £460 million plugging short term skills gaps in 2020.  That’s a 60% increase on the previous year.

“This short-term approach is not just costly, it is also unsustainable, particularly for SMEs,” explains Suzanne McQuade, Business Relationships Manager at The Open University in Scotland.

As Scotland’s largest provider of part-time higher education, with over 50 years’ experience of providing innovative distance learning, The Open University (OU) is uniquely equipped to support SMEs to upskill and reskill their workforce.

The Scottish Government recently announced a new phase of funding to enable SMEs (organisations with less than 250 employees) across Scotland to access training up to the value of £5,000 to support workforce development, to position them to respond to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, to adapt to new ways of working and maximise the opportunities to restart, recover and renew.

A £1 million grant has been awarded to The OU in Scotland as part of the Scottish Funding Council’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund 2020-21: Phase 2.

SMEs can choose from a tailored suite of training for their employees, 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 – whilst accommodating operational requirements and optimising business efficiency.

Training options available from The OU focus on Scotland’s national skills priorities:

  • Health & social care
  • Leadership & business
  • Digital & IT
  • Green economy

With a range of selected courses at Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 10 – undergraduate – or SCQF Level 11 – postgraduate – or through industry recognised provision, options include OU short courses, microcredentials and modules.

 Short courses allow you to explore a subject without the time commitment, to help you build a new skillset and offer continued professional development in your career.  Individuals can choose from a range of short courses, including in-demand and transferable professional skills such as project management and finance.

For example, care workers could consider the OU’s very popular management-related short courses, to support aspirations to move into a more senior role, such as the New managers’ toolkit, Developing better teams or Developing your leadership style.  A short course in Improving diabetes management is also available.

Home Managers, deputy care managers or nurses seeking post-registration professional development may wish to consider a microcredential such as Management of uncertainty: leadership, decisions and action.  But what is a microcredential and how could one benefit you?  With a microcredential you can rapidly learn new skills and techniques that you can immediately apply and take back to your workplace.

Microcredentials are university level online programmes that are sector endorsed and designed to help you build professional skills.  They take an average of 10-12 weeks of online study to complete which equates to only 9-12 hours of learning per week.  At the end, you gain academic credit to help you advance your career as a standalone credential and the flexibility to use it towards another qualification later down the line.

Additionally, a selected range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules are available including Managing in a changing world and Making strategy with systems thinking in practice, which offer individuals the opportunity to develop higher level leadership & business and digital & IT skills.

To find out more about how The Open University in Scotland can help your SME to develop a future proof workforce through the Scottish Funding Council’s Flexible Workforce Development Fund, please visit

Updated guidance – Financial support for social care providers from December 2020

Please note the guidance regarding financial support for social care providers for COVID-19 from December 2020 to 31 March 2021 has now been updated to include additional material on payments to support staff movement and payments to support additional administration required by care homes as a result of COVID-19.

The new version of this guidance can be accessed on the webpage: