THE number of apprentices in Scotland under the SNP is “within touching distance” of 200,000, according to the party.
The figures, obtained through the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre, show that across Scotland there have been 186,855 modern apprenticeship starts since the party took office in 2007.
The employment scheme offers work-based learning in a range of industries including tourism, engineering and life sciences.
The data was released to mark the start of Scottish Apprenticeship Week.
SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald said: “In 2014-15 we delivered on our original manifesto target of reaching 25,000 modern apprenticeships each year. We have now raised that target to 30,000 per year by 2021. We are already well on the way with 25,500 expected to have started in the year 2015-16.
“This has contributed to the percentage of school leavers in work, training or education reaching an all-time high and youth employment reaching its highest level for a decade.
“This represents 200,000 young people who are in work, learning new skills, gaining qualifications and earning money - this Modern Apprenticeship Week I would encourage all businesses to think about how their business could benefit from taking on an apprentice.”