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More than 3500 new apprenticeship opportunities will help boost Scotland’s economy and give young people a head-start in their careers.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is supporting around 2600 Foundation Apprenticeships for pupils and approximately 900 Graduate Apprenticeships in 2018.

Employability and Training Minister, Jamie Hepburn, announced in Parliament that in total, 28,000 new Modern Apprenticeship starts will be delivered in the coming year. SDS already works with industry and employers, supporting more than 26,000 Modern Apprenticeships last year, set to rise to 30,000 per year by 2020.

The new Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships are backed by employers, universities, colleges and schools across the country.

SDS Chief Executive Damien Yeates said work-based learning and apprenticeships are vital for Scotland’s future prosperity.

He said: “Scotland has great ambitions to increase productivity and generate inclusive growth, all against the backdrop of an ageing population, rapid technological change and real pressure on public spending.

“This means finding new and innovative ways, such as Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships, to match the skills people develop with the ones employers need.

“Apprenticeships are a vital piece of the jigsaw to improve Scotland’s productivity, which will benefit individuals, employers and the wider economy.”

Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships key to widening offer

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “As well as growing the Modern Apprenticeship programme, we are committed to enhancing and widening our apprenticeship offering, ensuring that more people than ever before can benefit from work-based learning. The expansion of Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships is key to delivering this vision, as is the additional support we’re offering to rural areas, and key sectors.”

Paul Campbell, Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Scottish Water, said: “Scottish Water uses a broad range of apprenticeship programmes which have a high currency in our business.

“Many of our leaders have themselves been former apprentices, and there is a great deal of value placed on the development of our apprentices so that they fully understand the nature of our business, have the technical skills to perform safely and effectively, and understand the vital role that Scottish Water plays within our communities and society. 

“SDS’s full family of apprenticeships give more flexibility and choice than ever before, providing pathways to enter into skills development at different points and at different stages of life.”

Graeme Humphreys, Director and Workplace Mentor at Codify in Aberdeen said Graduate Apprenticeships offer the best of both worlds.

He said: “I think for us it is just a great opportunity for our staff to get a degree level qualification while in the workplace. Graduate Apprenticeships strike the perfect balance between work and further education.”

Solid talent pipeline

GE Caledonian’s Apprentice Leader Stephen McNab said Foundation Apprenticeships give young people a vehicle to take them from a school environment to the workplace, while gaining vital skills.

He said: “It is also about Foundation Apprenticeships giving us a solid talent pipeline a year in advance. We get an idea of peoples’ potential a year earlier and, without a doubt, it helps us find the right people.”

GE Caledonian Foundation Apprentice, Fraser Wallace

The Greenwood Academy pupil found out about Foundation Apprenticeships at school from an SDS careers adviser

Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships have been developed by SDS, in partnership with employers, universities and colleges with support from the European Social Fund.

Foundation Apprenticeships are for school pupils to take alongside subjects such as Highers, while Graduate Apprenticeships allow individuals to get qualified up to Master’s degree level whilst in employment.

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