Update on Modern Apprenticeships
Today, Skills Development Scotland published positive statistics showing more than 12,500 Modern Apprentices have started work in Scotland since April.
This is great news for both our young people and our economy. Modern Apprentices are an important part of our drive to increase skills in our workforce, bring in new talent, and support vulnerable groups and the unemployed back into work.
The benefits of Modern Apprenticeships are widely recognised by employers and MAs, and their value is tried and tested. Three out of four apprentices say that joining the scheme had a positive impact on their skills and abilities and has given them better long-term career prospects.
This Government has ambitious targets for Modern Apprentice starts. By 2020, we are committed to having 30,000 MA starts, and we are on the road to this target by creating 26,000 new places.
Not only are our targets testing, they are also responsive. By focussing on higher level apprenticeships, particularly in Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics frameworks, we are tailoring the supply of trained individuals to employers’ particular needs, and maximising the benefits for our economy.
That is why it is especially pleasing today to see the number of Apprentices starting in construction increasing, proving we are supporting this vital pillar of our economic and social fabric for the future.
Last year the UK Government announced its plans to impose a UK wide Apprenticeship Levy on employers. The UK Government forced this levy on Scotland without consultation, however given the position we are now in, we have worked with employers to develop our approach which help young people, meet the needs of businesses and supporting inclusive economic growth, and be more flexible and broad that the current proposals in England.
We have involved employers in every step of the process and kept them fully informed in our discussions because we want to make sure they feel the benefits of the levy, and don’t just see it as an unnecessary financial burden.
We have reason be optimistic; today’s news shows that Scottish employers have confidence in our Modern Apprenticeship scheme and it is continuing to bring about the right balance of opportunities to suit Scotland.