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Employers backed apprenticeships last year with more than 29,000 new starts supporting the economy. 

A total of 29,035 people started a Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship in the past financial year. 

Four out of ten apprenticeship starts were in science, technology, engineering or maths related job roles. 

And three quarters were in higher level apprenticeships. The number of women taking up apprenticeship jobs also increased. 

Apprenticeships essential in COVID-19 recovery

Business, Fair Work and Skills Minister Jamie Hepburn said: “These are encouraging figures, and I’m pleased that more than 29,000 people started apprenticeships last year, enabling them to access high-quality training while employed. 

“However, the figures only cover the very start of the lockdown measures and don’t capture the huge uncertainty and anxiety that many people including apprentices will be feeling as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.  

“We firmly believe that apprenticeships are an essential way to help people begin or progress their careers, while enabling employers to invest in their workforce and provide the skills that we need both now and in the future.  

“They will be even more important as we enter the recovery phase and supporting Scotland’s apprenticeship family through the pandemic is one of my key priorities.” 

Focus on supporting apprentices

The figures were published by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) who administer funds for apprenticeships.  

SDS Chair, Frank Mitchell, said: “While Scottish employers continued to support the growth in apprenticeship opportunities over the past year, we are of course facing into a very different economic landscape due to COVID-19. 

“Throughout the pandemic SDS has worked with Scottish Government, training providers, employers and other partners to understand the impact on apprenticeships and provide support measures. 

“We can’t overstate the scale of the challenge faced by business and employers across Scotland. Any employer of an apprentice who needs help or guidance can contact SDS on 0800 783 6000. 

“SDS continues to work with Scottish Government and the Enterprise & Skills Strategic Board with a focus on supporting apprenticeships during these unprecedented times.  

“As we move towards economic recovery, reskilling, retaining and lifelong learning through work-based learning and apprenticeships will have a crucial role to play.” 

New skills

Supply Chain Graduate Apprentice, Jordan Fairlamb has been based in the office almost every day since the outbreak of the pandemic. 

The 19-year-old from Irvine has been helping his Uddingston-based food manufacturer and supplier, Dawnfresh Seafoods Limited. 

Jordan said: “I’ve definitely learnt new skills from working through the pandemic. I am checking and investigating any issues that arise on site, making sure that I am always keeping in touch with my team online. I’m making decisions and gaining confidence.” 

Proud

As a Waste Water Treatment Modern Apprentice at Scottish Water, Ailish Lavelle feels proud to be helping to keep the water running for Scotland during the pandemic. 

The 23-year-old has continued to work at Scottish Water’s Erskine waste water treatment plant throughout the lockdown. 

Ailish, from Giffnock, said: “It has been good to be able to keep working on site. Scottish Water has introduced new measures with strict social distancing rules, policies to limit contact and use of PPE, face masks and hand sanitisers. It’s become the ‘new normal’.” 

The annual statistics covering Employability Fund and Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships are published on the Publications area of the SDS website

Find out more about apprenticeships at apprenticeships.scot 

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