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23 May 2023

Highest ever number of Modern Apprentices in Scotland

Apprenticeships Youth employment Employers Work-based learning

More than 25,000 new Modern Apprenticeships were created by Scotland’s employers in the past year, surpassing the Scottish Government ambition and helping apprenticeship job creation move closer to pre-pandemic levels.

Statistics from Scotland’s skills agency, Skills Development Scotland (SDS), show that there were 25,447 Modern Apprenticeship starts from April 2022 to March 2023.

Modern Apprenticeship starts are now at 91% of pre-pandemic levels, showing employer demand for critical skills.

The figures also show that the number of apprentices in-training across the country is at the highest ever level, at around 39,000.

Our priority is for high quality apprenticeships that provide sustainable jobs and careers, supporting our transition to net zero.

Graeme Dey MSP

Minister for Further and Higher Education

High quality apprenticeships vital

Minister for Higher and Further Education Graeme Dey MSP met apprentices from a range of employers including Balfour Beatty, Leonardo and Scottish Water who were speaking to young people about the benefits of apprenticeships at the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) event ‘Youth Without Limits Live: Beyond the CV’ at Dynamic Earth in the capital.

Mr Dey said: “Apprenticeships are a vital for people to develop their skills and for employers to invest in their workforce for the future.

“Supporting skills development across people’s lifetimes is critical to our future productivity and success, underlining our commitment to a skilled workforce set out within the National Strategy for Economic Transformation.

“Our priority is for high quality apprenticeships that provide sustainable jobs and careers, supporting our transition to net zero.”

Mas In Scotland

Supporting a wellbeing economy

Chair of Skills Development Scotland, Frank Mitchell, said: “The number of apprenticeships supported by employers show that they are a critical way of developing much-needed skills and sustainable jobs across all parts of Scotland supporting a wellbeing economy.

“These apprenticeships have been taken up by individuals from across society, including many young people traditionally with limited prospects to progress who have gone onto flourish in the workplace.

“These are real jobs backed by employers who contribute £10 for every £1 spent by government, and at the same time apprentices contribute by paying their taxes.”

DofE transferable skills

The Dynamic Earth event provided opportunities for DofE participants hailing from all over the country to develop skills required in life and the workplace and understand how their experiences can support their future careers.

Director of DofE Scotland, Helen Anderson said: "DofE teaches valuable skills for life and work and many of our Gold Award participants complete their Award as part of their apprenticeship, learning skills such as resilience, problem-solving, teamwork and communication, which support their career development."

Hector MacAulay MBE, Managing Director of Balfour Beatty’s regional business in Scotland said:” At Balfour Beatty, we are committed to attracting the next generation of talent and inspiring young people across Scotland to consider a career in the construction and infrastructure industry.

“That is why we were delighted to join with Skills Development Scotland at the Duke of Edinburgh event today to further showcase the wide range of apprenticeship opportunities available across Balfour Beatty - opportunities that will provide young people with the skills and knowledge they need to kickstart lifelong, rewarding careers in our industry.”

Opening access to work

Of those individuals starting an apprenticeship over the last year, the majority (81%) were taking qualifications at higher levels of SCQF Level 6 or above, which is a year-on-year increase and supports the Scottish Government’s drive to create high quality opportunities.

The percentage share of individuals who started a Modern Apprenticeship and declared as having a disability, care experienced or coming from an ethnic minority community also rose. The largest share of starts - 24% - were individuals from the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland.

Construction had the highest number of starts (6,623) followed by the Sport, Health and Social Care grouping (5,749). The IT & Other Services group had the third highest number of starts overall (3,258) and the largest annual increase (+16.4%).

Nearly 6 in 10 (59%) of all starts were in growth/key sector-related groups and Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) frameworks accounted for almost half (47.0%) of starts, which is an increase on last year and also compared to pre-COVID percentage share.

Scottish Government has continued its commitment to apprenticeships with an ambition to deliver up to 25,500 Modern Apprenticeship starts in 2023/24.

The latest Interim Participation Snapshot, published by SDS, shows 90.8% of 16- to 19-year-olds are in learning, training or work – including apprenticeships.

Access the Q4 Modern Apprenticeships statistics on the Publications area of the SDS website.