Summer is nearly over, and the schools are back, now could be the ideal time to learn some new skills or get accreditation for skills you already have.

Rural Leadership Programme

Applications are now open for the 2020-2021 programme, but hurry because it has a closing date of 31 August 2020.

The Scottish Enterprise Rural Leadership Programme is designed to equip rural business owners and managers with the confidence and skills to make bold decisions and to get the best from themselves, their business, and their team.

The Shetland Tourism Association’s Chairperson and Realta Business Owner Emma Miller and Owner of The Original Cake Fridge & Tea Room and STA Member Lynn Johnson completed this course last year and worked on business and personal development goals. At a Business Innovation workshop in Airth Castle, Emma led the team which developed the winning business idea in the Tourism category.

Following the graduation, Emma said “This course has been an amazing experience for us both. We run very different businesses, and the range of other enterprises the other folk were involved in shows how diverse rural Scotland is. In the financial, political and physical environment we live in we have to adapt our business practices to embrace the challenges and not be discouraged by them.”

Business Gateway

Business Gateway have a wealth of free online webinars and tutorials which have been worthwhile to many STA members. They offer a huge range of courses, covering a range of business skills. The Digital Boost resources are particularly useful for those businesses focussing on their online presence. Digital boost gives you access to free digital consultants, online training, and a wide range of support to help your business adapt and change.


Springboard’s online training and support is now available for free to unemployed people across the UK and Ireland.

If you are currently not working or are unable to work due to Covid-19 and you would like to keep busy, Springboard can help. They offer; 1-week or 3-week courses, depending on your needs, your own member of their specialist employability team for 121 careers advice, support, and mentoring. A connected team environment: live group training and webinars. Upskill and re-train with over 40 online modules, which are accessible for you to complete 24/7

Future Learn

Future Learn offers a range of study options, from short online courses, professional or academic accreditation to online degree programmes such as a short course offered by Durham University in Leading and Managing People-Centred Change; learning how to bring people with you as you lead or manage organisational change and navigate challenges to keep them on-board.


The University of the Highlands and Islands are still accepting applications for a September start. You can join them on campus, and they will guide you on your unique learning journey. They offer a huge range of courses such as Accounting or History of the Highlands and Islands.

Aberdeen University

Aberdeen University are offering free online courses for anyone employed, unemployed or furloughed in Scotland thanks to the support of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC). These courses can help you upskill to progress in your career or reskill to change career.

Phase One – courses starting from September 2020 - You need to apply by 5pm on 4 September 2020.

Phase Two – courses starting from January 2021

Due to the limited number of places available, not all eligible applicants are guaranteed a free place.

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Join a community of business owners and operators who share your ambition to make your businesses more profitable, successful and innovative as we seek to maximise opportunities in the growing tourism sector in Shetland.