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I’m always greatly impressed when I get to meet apprentices and hear their stories about how working, learning and earning is having a positive impact on their lives.

Of course, while we haven't been able to meet in the same way, I did enjoy getting the chance to take part in virtual events as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week and the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

This year’s Scottish Apprenticeship Week showcased the great things that happen when business backs talent through Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, employers, apprentices, learning providers and supporters across the country got behind the campaign. This reinforced the value apprenticeships continue to bring to individuals, business and the economy.

The week was filled with a programme of virtual events and online activity, which helped to demonstrate the significant contribution apprentices make to every business sector.

Vital role of apprentices

It was a real pleasure to speak at Skills Development Scotland’s flagship event for the week, the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards.

The online event was a fantastic platform that shone a light on the vital role apprentices play in strengthening Scotland’s workforce and recognising the achievements of our apprentice finalists.

I had the opportunity to virtually meet the apprentice winners and hear their inspirational stories first hand.

It was wonderful to hear that apprentices are doing so much to support the economy through the pandemic, such as the work Scotland’s Apprentice of the Year, Samir Khan-Young is doing at Thales to support the production of PPE for NHS staff.

Work-based learning working

It was clear all the apprentices have benefited from choosing a work-based learning approach to developing their careers.

Foundation Apprentice of the Year winner Annabel Stewart didn’t think about a job in science before her school recommended she take a Foundation Apprenticeship with Charles River Laboratories. Annabel is now planning a career in life sciences and progressing on to a Modern Apprenticeship.

It was fantastic to hear that Annabel and other winners have been able to map out a career path progressing through our apprenticeship programmes, further highlighting the benefits of Scotland’s well-established Apprenticeship Family.

Apprentice Ambassador of the Year, Cameron MacDonald is now doing a Graduate Apprenticeship with Diageo after gaining the support from Skills Development Scotland and his learning provider to ensure he was able to complete and progress on from a Modern Apprenticeship.

"The achievements of these apprentices clearly demonstrates that young people are a massive asset to their employers, who are tapping into a pipeline of talent through apprenticeships."

Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, MSP

Pipeline of talent

The achievements of these apprentices clearly demonstrates that young people are a massive asset to their employers, who are tapping into a pipeline of talent through apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships directly support the Scottish Government’s Young Person’s Guarantee, providing thousands of opportunities every year.

The Guarantee will ensure that all young people, aged 16-24 in Scotland, get the chance to succeed through the opportunity of a job, apprenticeship, education, training or volunteering.  

Support to recruit

There’s more support for employers to give young people a chance through an apprenticeship.

In direct response to the pandemic, the Scottish Government has worked with Skills Development Scotland to provide a range of support measures for employers to recruit through apprenticeships, including the Apprenticeship Employer Grant and an enhanced Adopt and Apprentice offer.

Apprenticeships will continue to play a crucial role as we work to support the economy through the pandemic and towards recovery. The Scottish Government are right behind our apprentices and young people and we will continue to do everything we can to give them the opportunities they need to succeed.

More information

To find out the support available to take on an apprentice visit

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