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A record number of apprentices got the chance to work, learn and earn last year thanks to industry and employers.

The number of Modern Apprenticeship starts increased to 26,262, exceeding the annual target, new statistics have confirmed.

Skills Development Scotland’s statistics show the number of Modern Apprenticeships starts exceeded the 2016/17 target of 26,000; more than three quarters of starts were aged 16 to 24-years-old and more than a third were in STEM-related frameworks.

Chief Executive of Skills Development Scotland Damien Yeates said: “It is great news for young people, employers and Scotland as a whole that we now have a record number of Modern Apprentices.  

"It is clear that employers are continuing to invest in their workforce and developing skills through employing Modern Apprentices. 

“At SDS we will continue to work with individuals, employers, training providers and partners to widen access to apprenticeship and the opportunities that work based learning provides.” 

Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn said: “I welcome these statistics which show we are exceeding our Modern Apprenticeship targets with employers clearly recognising the value of the opportunities they bring to increase skills in our workforce and encourage new talent.

“As we work towards our 2020 target of expanding the number of Apprenticeship starts to 30,000 each year, we are growing, widening and enhancing the apprenticeship programme to respond to employers’ needs.  This work is paying off as we are among the countries with the lowest youth unemployment rates in the EU.  

“We are continuing to enhance our Modern Apprenticeships so they bring the right balance of opportunities to suit employers and the workforce. In 2017 we are expanding the number of Graduate Level and Foundation Apprenticeships, giving more individuals the chance to take on work-based learning through universities and schools.

“We have introduced a new Rural Supplement to help support training provision in more remote areas, we are removing public sector restrictions around MA funding, increasing the opportunities for apprentices over 25, and enhancing contribution rates for disabled people and those under the age of 29 with experience of care.”

Mr Hepburn visited the Busby Hotel in Clarkston and heard from Modern Apprentices who have been training through the Manorview Group’s academy.

Read the full statistical report here.

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