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Scottish Government has underlined its commitment to youth employment and apprenticeships in its economic recovery plans.

Funding of £10million has been announced for a range of measures to recruit and retain apprentices.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has welcomed further support in recognition of the vital role apprenticeships play in Scotland’s economic recovery.

The investment will provide additional funding for the Adopt an Apprentice programme, to help Modern and Graduate Apprentices who are facing redundancy as a result of COVID-19 get back into work.

In addition, the funds will enable the development and delivery of further measures to support Apprenticeships.

Supporting and safeguarding apprenticeships

The announcement heralds the latest in a number of actions the Scottish Government has pledged to support and safeguard apprenticeships for now and the future.

In its response to the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery report and Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board report, the Scottish Government committed to embed Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeship places as part of the wider college and university provision.

Ministers have also backed a Jobs Guarantee Scheme for young people and new pathways to apprenticeships initiative.
Apprenticeships are also being considered within a review of the Labour Market Strategy to ensure a coherent package of education, skills and employability support.

Industry input to develop support

Commenting on the £10m investment, Chair of Skills Development Scotland, Frank Mitchell said: “This welcome announcement underlines the importance of apprentices to the Scottish economy and the crucial role they will play in supporting individuals and businesses in the recovery from COVID-19.

“We will continue to liaise with the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board and other employer organisations on the development and delivery of employer incentives and subsidies.”

Sandy Begbie, former chief transformation officer with Tesco Bank who worked on the Edinburgh Jobs guarantee scheme, is leading the development of a national programme.

Youth at heart or recovery

Mr Mitchell added: “SDS is also fully engaged with the work Sandy Begbie is leading on the development of a jobs guarantee for young people in order to maximise the use of all available incentives towards the retention and recruitment of apprentices.”

Announcing the £10 million funding, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Fiona Hyslop said: “The young people who will make up our future workforce are among those who have been hardest hit by this pandemic. As such, it is crucial that we support them and ensure they are at the heart of our economic recovery from COVID-19.

“This targeted funding will extend the reach of our support for apprentices, including our Adopt an Apprentice programme. Combined with our commitment of at least £50 million for youth employment and the Youth Guarantee, we will ensure no one is left behind.

“Apprenticeships are not only valuable for our young people, they are a key way for all employers to invest in their workforce and provide the skills the economy needs both now and in the future.”

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