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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-15876: Jamie Halcro Johnston (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 12 April 2018

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to encourage more people (a) under 24, (b) between 24 and 30 and (c) over 30 into modern apprenticeships.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 9 May 2018

The Scottish Government and its partners undertake a wide range of activity to encourage the uptake of our apprenticeship offer, with a focus on young people.

Through our Developing the Young Workforce activity we promote apprenticeship opportunities to school students, employers and parents. Skills Development Scotland deliver Career Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) within all Local Authority secondary schools. CIAG services for individuals post-school are delivered through Skills Development Scotland public access centres.

Skills Development Scotland takes a number proactive steps to encourage more people into apprenticeships by having an overall marketing strategy which looks at presenting apprenticeships as an option for all ages. This includes:

 The promotion of Apprenticeships via Skills Development Scotland’s web service, ‘Apprenticeships.Scot’, which supports work based learning and provides a focus for advertising opportunities. Scottish Apprenticeship Week, is the national campaign aimed at showcasing the benefits of work based learning, and is comprised of events taking place across the country supported by a dedicated media campaign. The annual Scottish Apprenticeship Awards are held in November, recognising the achievements of individual employers and their apprentices and further promoting the benefits of apprenticeships.

The Scottish Government is also expanding the number of Foundation Apprenticeships, to equip more young people at school with industry recognised qualifications, skills and the practical experience that industry demands, both now and in the future. Pupils completing a Foundation Apprenticeship have the opportunity to apply for an accelerated entry onto a related Modern Apprenticeship.

Despite the relatively recent introduction of Foundation Apprenticeships in 2016, in a short period of time we have rapidly grown the number of opportunities from a standing start, to deliver an increase of over 640% in the numbers between 2016 and 2018. Since their introduction, Foundation Apprenticeships have increased from 346 in 2016, to 1,245 in 2017 and to 2,600 in 2018.

The Scottish Government is committed to fulfilling our ambitious targets of 5000 Foundation Apprenticeships in 2019, and the further embedding of FAs in the curriculum of schools across the country. Foundation Apprenticeships are already available in schools in each of the 32 local authority areas.

To encourage those over 25 to undertake Apprenticeships in addition to continuing our commitment to implement Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy: ‘Developing the Young Workforce’, in 2018-2019 we are also delivering a range of measures to provide access to apprenticeships for the over 25s including:

 An increase in the number of Modern Apprenticeships Frameworks that can be supported for apprentices aged over 25. Enhanced contribution rates for disabled people and those with experience of care up to the age of 29. An increase in Graduate Apprenticeships which are not age restricted.

Published 2016-2017 annual Apprenticeship statistics , showed 24% of new Modern Apprenticeship starts were in the 25+ age group.