THE number of people on modern apprenticeships has increased by almost 60 per cent since 2007, figures show.
There were 15,803 who started a modern apprenticeship in 2007/08 compared to 25,247 in 2014/15 - an increase of 59.7 per cent, according to an SNP analysis of statistics from Skills Development Scotland.
It’s absolutely vital that we can continue to attract more young people into the modern apprentice programme - and that they aren’t put off by the disincentive of low pay.”Stewart Maxwell
Apprenticeships provide an opportunity to learn on the job while receiving a salary and working towards a vocational qualification.
The SNP is marking UN World Youth Skills Day by repeating calls for powers over the minimum wage to be devolved to Scotland.
It said the current minimum wage for apprentices is £2.73 per hour - while under plans put forward by the party at the general election, the rate would have risen to £6.86 by 2020.
Stewart Maxwell MSP said: “Apprenticeships are a key part of the SNP in government’s successful youth employment strategy - and the Scottish Government has exceeded its target of 25,000 modern apprenticeships a year every year since 2011/12. This target is set to increase to 30,000 by 2020.
“However, it is simply wrong that due to the discriminatory regulations of the UK Government, many apprentices could find themselves earning less than £3 per hour.
“It’s absolutely vital that we can continue to attract more young people into the modern apprentice programme - and that they aren’t put off by the disincentive of low pay. That’s why it is absolutely vital that powers to tackle low pay are devolved to Scotland.”