Astrak becomes first SME in Fife to benefit from workforce development fund

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

Fife College has welcomed Kirkcaldy-based company Astrak as they became the first small or medium enterprise (SME) in Fife to benefit from the Flexible Workforce Development Fund.

Astrak is the UK's leading supplier of heavy-duty undercarriage and wear part components for tracked machinery such as excavators and bulldozers, and 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, the Group Operations Manager at Astrak, commented:

“At Astrak 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.

“The team at the College were all really welcoming, and despite the Coronavirus restrictions we were able to take part in some great courses.

“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:

“We were delighted to be able to welcome Astrak employees to the College.

“Now that the Flexible Workforce Development 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 this new funding, 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, and we’d encourage anyone to take advantage of it while they can.”