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Parliamentary Debates and Questions

S5W-17900: Tavish Scott (Shetland Islands)

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Date lodged: 27 July 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the Federation of Small Businesses news release of 6 March 2018, Adult apprenticeship drive could help fill skills gaps, for what reason Skills Development Scotland provides up to £5,000 less towards the cost of apprenticeships for people aged over 25, and whether there are any plans to increase the funding available for businesses that want to train older apprentices.

Answered by: Jamie Hepburn 17 August 2018

Scottish Apprenticeships are well established and play a key part in delivery of both our Youth Employment and Economic strategies. In line with this, funding is prioritised towards 16-19 year olds and key and priority sectors of the economy. It is encouraging the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) report highlights increasing numbers of Apprentices being recruited by small businesses in Scotland, and we will continue to work with FSB on how to build upon this.

SDS undertook a systematic review of all contribution rates, with ongoing review of individual frameworks on an evidence-led basis. This takes into account factors such as content of the framework and any formal structured learning that takes place away from the workplace.

Scottish Government policy is to provide a contribution towards modern apprenticeship training based on a set of variables, with employers expected to make a contribution to additional costs of training and assessment as required.

To support increased uptake of those in equality and priority groups, in 2017-18 this Government introduced enhanced contribution rates for disabled people and those with experience of care up to the age of 29. In addition, since 2016/17 there has been an increase each year in the volume of modern apprenticeship frameworks funded for the +25 age range. This shows our commitment to increase the offer of modern apprenticeship opportunities in key and supporting sectors as set out in the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland letter of guidance.

The Scottish Government recognises the importance of SMEs to our economy and is committed to creating a supportive business environment conducive to sustained economic growth.