New Year, New Skills, New Start

Partners from across the region are working together to enhance access to learning, training and business start-up support in 2021. 

The initiative is part of the Aberdeen City Council Socio Economic Recovery plan, which was created in response to the impact of Coronavirus.

The campaign brings North East Scotland College, Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the University of Aberdeen together with national agencies, business organisations and community groups. 

The partnership includes Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Aberdeenshire Council, Business Gateway Aberdeen City and Shire, Elevator, Opportunity North East (ONE), Skills Development Scotland and the Aberdeen Employability Training Providers Forum.

Advice and support is available to all – whether you are a school leavers taking your first steps towards employment or an adult considering a returning to education and training with a view to upskilling for career progression or retraining to enter a new sector. 

Enhance skills and build competitive advantage through the Chamber's extensive portfolio of training courses for businesses, with over 50 public courses available. For further information visit Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce  

Barnardo’s Works delivers training, work placements and support to young people aged 16-24 across the North East.  This year the service aims to provide around 250 training places to young people in  Aberdeen City and across Aberdeenshire.   These Include:  Explore and Believe a new programme targeted those who have left school in the last year, Fit For Work supported by Cashback which is a fun activity based programme for those that want to build up a positive routine and improve their wellbeing, Discovering Your Potential targeting Care Experience Young People, Aberdeenshire Employability Agreements,  Employability Fund which supports Young people to gain Employability Training and Work Experience. For more information contact and 07725 623903 or and 07920 087951.

Free webinars on a broad range of subject areas could help you to upskill today. Take a look at the full events schedule for more inforamtion. 

Find out about how to start your own business or turn your passion into a business with help from Business Gateway. Speak to one of our business advisers for 1:1 support and advice today: Business Gateway: Contact Us

You can find out more about the local businesses that have been supported by Business Gateway via their case studies

Elevator UK offers a suite of fully-funded accelerator programmes which provide core skills and inside knowledge on entrepreneurial disciplines. In Aberdeen, Elevator’s Flagship Accelerator occurs twice per year and is aimed at individuals with a business idea or early stage business owners. Elevator’s Academic Accelerator takes place over the summer period and is aimed at students, recent graduates and those with an academic background. 

To find out more information and apply for a place in 2021, visit Elevator’s website

NESCol has launched a fully funded selection of online courses available to anyone who can commit to two hours of study a week.  The courses, which are part of the new 2021 part-time and distance learning programme, include customer service, counselling skills, health and mental wellbeing. NESCol’s distance learning programme has been developed to provide skills for employment, including personal and professional development. The online learning courses help to enhance career prospects through working towards and gaining accredited qualifications and skills. A range of funding options are available depending on the chosen course. Visit NESCol: Focus on part time and select the links to individual ‘Fully funded courses’. 

Applications are open for full-time courses beginning in summer 2021 at NESCol. Find out more about the range of options at the City Campus, Altens Campus and Fraserburgh Campus as well as the funding and support available to College student. Chat live online to our expert Student Advice Team to get answers to all of your questions. For more details visit start your story

Employers can also apply now for a share of £1.8million of funding allocated to NESCol to deliver training in the region under the 2020/21 Flexible Workforce Development Fund. Apprenticeship Levy paying employers can access training up to a maximum value of £15,000. Levy-payers can also nominate up to two of their supply chain companies to receive all or part of their allocation or can include supply chain company staff in training they have identified as a collective priority. An SME that is not a levy payer can also now access support through the scheme, with up to a maximum of £5,000 of training available. For further information contact contact Iain Cocker by email at or visit flexible workforce development fund.  

The Prince's Trust helps 11-30 year-olds to build their confidence and skills and supports them into jobs, education and training. The courses offered by The Trust give young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping develop self-esteem and skills for work. 
Further information is available on The Prince’s Trust website.

RGU has a portfolio of upskilling online short courses focused on supporting businesses and providing individuals with the opportunity to develop their skills. The topics reflect industry needs which aim to provide you with skills development opportunities in response to the current climate. More courses in different topics will be added in the coming months, for more information visit RGU: Upskill 

RGU Knowledge Bites for Business provides thoughts and insights to help individuals and businesses at this challenging time. The platform shares knowledge and expertise from the University community across all sectors, comprising of free-to-access videos, articles, courses and live interactive webinars. New content is added regularly, to find out more visit Bites for Business.

Being entrepreneurial is a foundational skill for the future, and our economy relies on the creativity, ingenuity and ambition of founders. Through our accelerators, programmes, resources and events – we help aspiring entrepreneurs from every discipline explore and launch new ventures. Our Entrepreneurship and Innovation Group at RGU help drive innovation and support new enterprises to create impact and contribute to Scotland’s economic prosperity through a range of programmes. For more information visit Business Innovation.  

My World of Work is Scotland’s career information and advice website brought to you by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) – Scotland’s national skills agency. The site is designed to support everyone develop their career management skills, no matter what stage you’re at in your career, with advice and tools to help you find out more about yourself and the opportunities open to you.

Our Skillsforce supports employers with all their skills needs. It includes free advice, skills planning, HR support and funding, with information on how businesses can engage with young people, including work-based learning.

SDS also support employers planning for change – from recruitment, training and development to restructuring so companies build a skilled and motivated workforce, and prepare for the future.


Station House Media Unit (shmu), established as a charity in 2003, is one of the core cultural organisations in Aberdeen, and is at the forefront of community media development in Scotland, supporting residents in the seven regeneration areas of the city in radio and video production, traditional and on-line publications, music production and digital inclusion.

shmuTRAIN offer a variety of employability programmes for 16-25 year-olds. These include delivering Employability Fund programmes as part of the National Employability Pipeline, work with Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire Councils to deliver programmes under the 'No One Left Behind' banner, delivering Foundation Apprenticeships in Creative and Digital Media and ICT and Software Development for Aberdeenshire Council and working with local schools to develop employability-based programmes senior phase pupils. Find out more about the 2021 opportunities by contacting Employability Manager Michelle Trail or by visiting shmu website

Upskill, change career path or gain credits towards postgraduate qualifications with fully online short courses starting 25 January. Covering everything from energy transition to health and wellbeing, our flexible short courses are the perfect way to learn in-demand skills for more information visit January courses.
Online access courses in Maths and English are designed to help those without the required Maths and English qualifications gain access to university and college courses, including teaching courses. These courses are 100% online and are available 24/7, all year round for more information visit online access
Thanks to the support of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), the University of Aberdeen is able to offer a limited number of free places on online short courses in spring 2021, covering a range of subject areas, including Decommissioning, Nutrition, Mindfulness, Psychology and Coaching:.  For more information visit free online courses.

Find out how online study works at the University of Aberdeen and the kind of support on offer by visiting discover.   

Find out about joining in January, including the University of Aberdeen community discount, which offers 20% off for residents of Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire and Moray by visiting postgraduate taught.  If you are already a graduate of the University, you will benefit from the Alumni discount
For general information about studying visit the University of Aberdeen website. 

A range of volunteering opportunities are available to help individuals expand skills and experience whilst providing valuable support to third sector organisations. 

For further information visit Aberdeenshire Voluntary Action.

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