Kirkcaldy company becomes first SME in Fife to benefit from workforce funding
Kirkcaldy-based company Astrak has become the first small or medium enterprise (SME) in Fife to benefit from the Flexible Workforce Development Fund.
Astrak, based in Dunnikier Business Park, is the UK's leading supplier of heavy-duty undercarriage and wear part components for tracked machinery such as excavators and bulldozers. It applied to the Scottish Government fund after applications were opened up to all businesses.
The Flexible Workforce Development Fund had previously only been open to larger employers who paid the apprenticeship levy, but the recent expansion allowed SMEs to receive up to £5,000 each to help upskill or reskill their workforce.
Astrak has a commitment to supporting and developing their 60-strong workforce through learning, and has been working with Fife College to put its staff through several training courses.
These have included the health and safety course ‘IOSH Managing Safely’ and the ILM Level 3 Award in Management and Leadership.
This month saw staff complete the "Positive Behaviours and Effective Communication" course, which aims to leave delegates with a clear plan of improving their communication skills, enabling them to achieve the right results with the right people at the right time.
John Wyllie, group operations manager, said: “We’re committed to investing in our workforce and providing staff with opportunities to develop their knowledge and skills base.
“With the Flexible Workforce Development Fund now open to businesses such as ours it gave us a great opportunity to access training for free, so we got in touch with Fife College.
“We worked with them to develop a number of courses that would be useful to our employees, and help equip our staff with further skills that will help them in their roles.
“We’re now keen to develop our relationship with Fife College so we can enhance our internal employee training program further.”
Jan Thomson, director of business development at Fife College, said: “Now that the fund is open to a wider range of businesses, we’ve really enjoyed being able to help provide these development opportunities to companies such as Astrak.
“They were the first to take advantage of it, but we’re already helping out several other SMEs with their training needs.
“This fund presents a great opportunity for any business in Fife to upskill their workforce.”