Apprentices bring positive impact to Scottish economy

Posted on March 7th 2016

by Stephen Nicolson

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) enjoyed success last week as it conducted one of its flagship annual events.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week aims to highlight the positive impact that apprentices can have on the Scottish economy, whether working for businesses or individuals.

Here at Infro, we have showcased the careers of people looking to make their mark in construction, energy and infrastructure with the importance of a sound footing, seemingly not lost on firms in the north of Scotland.

SDS has made it all the easier for prospective apprentices, implementing a new website in order to allow potential employers to post any vacancies for free, which allows potential employees to apply via the site.  The new platform can be found at apprenticeships.scot.

Prior to the campaign kick-off, SDS released figures as evidence of the potential gain that could be enjoyed by employers if they were to fully embrace the concept of modern apprenticeships.

SDS says that if the avenue is fully explored an ageing workforce and a skills shortage can be reduced as well as providing a base for young people to get their careers off to a good start across a range of jobs and sectors.

The organisation also state that the Scottish Government have set a target of 30,000 new modern apprenticeship places being on offer at firms across the country by 2020 – an increase of 5,000 on today’s offerings.

SDS also claims that there are 35,000 apprentices in training in Scotland at this moment, with more than 15,000 companies and organisations providing the platform for them to grow and achieve their ambitions.

They were quick to point out too, that more than 40 per cent of modern apprentices are female, indicating that these roles are by no means female free zones With SDS pledging around £74.5m towards the cost of training modern apprentices each year, it is easy to see why a modern apprenticeship could appeal to a number of people country wide.

SDS has gathered a wide range of information on the subject and has published their findings on what employers say about the benefit of utilising modern apprenticeships.

It says that 75 per cent of employers found that modern apprentices improved productivity, 71 per cent improved product and service quality and 72 per cent said that morale was improved by employing modern apprentices.

SDS has overall management responsibility for the Modern Apprenticeship scheme. Gordon McGuiness is Depute Director of Industry and Enterprise Networks.

He said: “In the late 1970s, there was a fall-off in training that led to a serious skills gap. Companies had to wake up to the danger of losing the skills they had and to recognise the need to invest.

“Modern Apprenticeships allow companies to shape their own workforce in ways that meet their needs. The spread of available options into more than 80 occupational areas means that non-traditional skills such as business administration, HR and financial services for example are now open to applicants.

“The Scottish Government’s Youth Employment Strategy recognises the importance of integrating the vocational and academic routes and contains key initiatives with this focus. We are committed to increasing the number of Modern Apprenticeship starts each year in Scotland from 25,000 to 30,000 by 2020.”