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Final evaluation of Skills for the Future


Scottish Enterprise Borders (SEB) commissioned an interim and final evaluation of Skills for the Future, its workforce development programme for small and medium sized businesses in the Borders area which assists firms to identify, prioritise and take up appropriate training linked to business growth objectives. The evaluation sought to: assess the project's operation and delivery; identify attitudes and approaches to training in companies prior to participating in the project; examine the extent to which participation in the programme led to companies carrying out training activity; assess the extent to which training had a lasting impact on participating firms; and assess the extent to which the project met its objectives.


Project approval papers and management information relating to the number and characteristics of participating companies were reviewed. Consultations were carried out with the Skills for the Future project manager and the consultant responsible for carrying out training needs analyses (TNAs) and producing training plans for participating companies. Participating companies were surveyed by telephone, after the questionnaire was developed by interviewing a small number of participants face to face.


The key targets of the programme were met. Some important findings were: a significant amount of training was undertaken, over half of which would not have happened without support; firms were more aware of the important role of staff development in meeting business growth objectives and reported that they were more likely to train staff as a result; firms were investing more in training; they were more likely to plan training, and to factor in management and soft skills training into these plans; however, support from SE Borders did not have a significant overall impact on the type of training that firms actually undertook, and the focus of training investment remained on job-specific and basic training.


It was recommended that the programme: continue to offer TNAs to firms that require it; continue to offer bespoke financial support towards certain training requirements for firms that have sufficiently well-developed processes in place for determining training requirements and planning training; and consider linking enhanced financial support to ‘higher end’ training activities (i.e. management and supervisory) to encourage more firms to undertake this sort of training.

Author GEN Consulting
Published Year 2009
Report Type Evaluation
  • Enterprise
    Support to existing/growth businesses
  • Labour Market and Skills
    Skills Development