Scottish firms urged to back apprentices

In an open letter, the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board – an independent group of employers and representative bodies – backs investment in apprenticeships as part of Scotland’s road to recovery, and calls for other businesses across Scotland to do the same.

Picture: SDS
Picture: SDS

This is Scottish Apprenticeship Week, the annual campaign which celebrates the thousands of Scottish businesses giving young people a chance through apprenticeships. The past year has been the most challenging any of us have ever faced. From small family businesses to multi-national companies, employers have felt the impact of the pandemic. Yet, even in these most difficult times, many Scottish businesses are continuing to invest in apprenticeships, and seeing the benefits.

Jobs for young people have never been more important. We know that our young workforce have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

We know that during periods of economic decline, our sustained investment in young talent can help us to emerge stronger and more competitive.

On a broader, social scale, apprenticeships remain integral to our skills system in Scotland and are an important part of Scotland’s Young Person’s Guarantee, supporting high-quality jobs, enabling employers to gain skilled workers while giving young people a chance during a period of uncertainty where there are fewer job opportunities for school leavers.

And that’s why, as the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board, we believe that apprenticeships offer the best route to strengthening our businesses while creating opportunities.

Skills Development Scotland’s apprentice and employer survey illustrates the value that apprenticeships can bring to both employers and young people: 91% of young people completing an apprenticeship are still in employment after six months and furthermore, 96% of employers would recommend apprenticeships to other businesses in their sector.

As the voice of industry for apprenticeships in Scotland, we have worked with the Scottish Government to make sure support to recruit young people and sustain apprenticeships is there when it’s needed most.

This includes up to £5,000 for employers recruiting a new apprentice or upskilling existing staff in a new role. We would therefore encourage you to make the most of this available support.

We would appeal to the wider business community in Scotland to ask those of you already bought into apprenticeships, to continue to invest in your apprentices throughout these tough times.

And to those employers who have yet to feel the benefits that they can bring to your business, we would say, give a young person a chance through an apprenticeship.

Find out more by following #ScotAppWeek21 on social media or by visiting www.apprenticeships.scot .