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Scotland’s national skills agency funded nearly 64,500 skills and learning opportunities during the past year.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) also supported the creation or safeguarding of more than 30,000 Scottish jobs. 

The national skills agency works with employers to make sure they have the right skills at the right time, and individuals to ensure they can have successful careers. 

SDS provides Scotland’s careers service, supporting people at any age or stage in their career. 

Last year SDS provided careers information, advice and guidance to 248,715 people, through over half a million face-to-face engagements. 

SDS extended its careers service in schools, inspiring young people at an earlier stage, helping them to develop career management skills, make informed choices and better prepare for the changing world of work. 

SDS continued to build on the success of re-launched careers advice and information web service My World of Work with further teacher resources to support career education in the classroom from as early as P5. 

Watchdog Education Scotland reviewed SDS careers services across five local authorities last year, with all elements being rated good, very good or excellent, continuing a consistently high performance record. 

More young people experienced My World of Work Live! – SDS’s award-winning interactive exhibits and activities designed to inspire young people’s interest in careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) – at sites in Glasgow, Inverness, and Shetland. 

The skills agency also funds and promotes apprenticeships. 

SDS worked with employers to support a record 26,262 apprenticeship starts last year, with more than three quarters of those going to 16 to 24-year-olds. 

Foundation Apprenticeships for school pupils were taken up by 351 young people in the past year, while up to 379 people will be able to benefit from work-based learning through new Graduate Level Apprenticeships. 

Website helped more businesses to recruit apprentices and more young people to find opportunities, with 27,581 applications made to 5,395 apprenticeship jobs. 

SDS provides direct support to employers across the country, responding to 4661 employer enquiries in 2016/17. 

Last year SDS also continued to support the targeted partnership approach to job-losses adopted through six Scottish Government Taskforces, and delivered Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) services to 299 employers and to their employees affected by redundancy. 

The Transition Training Fund was introduced to support people affected by the downturn in oil and gas. More than 1900 people successfully applied to the fund for help to retrain, improve their skills or get accreditation that would help them get a new job. 

In the year ahead SDS will continue to expand apprenticeships with up to 1900 Foundation Apprenticeships for pupils and 27,000 employed apprentice places. 

New targeted initiative, Next Steps, will also be introduced across all SDS careers centres this year. 


Next Steps offers intensive support for young people aged 16 to 18-years-old who have not yet achieved a positive destination, and for care experienced young people up to the age of 26. 

Skills Development Scotland Chair, John McClelland, said: “We have worked hard to drive an industry-led, work based approach to skills development, and deepened our engagement with industry, employers and education to develop a more comprehensive evidence base to inform our skills planning. 

“We look forward to collaborating more intensively with our partners as we seek to improve the skills landscape, creating a simpler and more coherent system of support for businesses and individuals.” 

The SDS Annual Review is available here

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