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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-15734: Gordon Lindhurst (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 29 March 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to the Skills Development Scotland publication, Foundation Apprenticeships: Early Progress and Learning Insights, which suggests that there is a lack of foundation apprenticeships in the IT and scientific technologies sectors in the Edinburgh area.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 17 April 2018

Foundation Apprenticeships(FA) provide industry-recognised qualifications in key sectors where there is a real need for skilled employees. Skills Development Scotland has worked with industry to deliver 3 digital frameworks and 1 scientific technologies framework to support the skills gap and growth of these sectors across the Scottish economy.

The Foundation Apprenticeship programme is delivered through partnerships between schools, a local college or learning provider, and local employers to provide individuals industry-recognised qualifications in key sectors where there is a real need for skilled employees. A phased approach was taken, in which cohort 2016-18 saw the roll out of two new Foundation Apprenticeship frameworks that are designed to support the digital sector in Scotland, IT: Hardware/System Support and IT: Software Development.

In Cohort 2017-2019 a further digital framework was established to support the sector, Creative and Digital Media, and the number of starts on the IT Hardware/System Support framework more than tripled and the number of starts on the IT: Software Development rose by 4 times the number of starts in 2016-18.

Skills Development Scotland has also been working with a digital technologies sector industry ambassador to encourage greater employer participation in the digital Foundation Apprenticeship pathways. An element of this approach is to establish employer Digital FA hubs to help employers to collectively support work based learning; one of these hubs is currently being established in Edinburgh.