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21 May 2024

More young Scots earning through apprenticeships

The Modern Apprenticeship statistics for 2023-24 have been published

Apprenticeships Modern apprenticeships Work-based learning

More young Scots are choosing apprenticeships and achieving higher level skills to support them, employers and the economy.

Thanks to Scotland’s employers and learning providers, almost 25,500 young people are getting the chance to work, learn and earn through Modern Apprenticeships.

Positive post school choice

The latest annual Modern Apprenticeship (MA) statistics, released by Skills Development Scotland today (Tuesday, 21 May), show that 59.7% (15,131) of 25,365 MA starts were aged 16 to 24 years old, the majority of which were 16 to 19 year-olds (10,130).

The 3% year on year increase on 16 to 19 year-olds taking an apprenticeship indicates that young people have a more positive view of apprenticeships as a career choice on leaving education.

Nearly half (47.8%) of those taking an apprenticeship in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) related frameworks were in this youngest age group.

This supported the overall year on year increase in uptake of MAs at higher levels, with eight in ten people (82.9%) learning skills at SCQF level 6 or above.

Jennifer Emmanuel Bright Horizons Nursery 66 Small

The MA achievement rate also increased across all age groups year on year at 76%, with more completing an apprenticeship at higher SCQF levels (76.3% at SCQF L6 and above).

Supporting equality

The latest figures also help to reinforce that apprenticeships are accessible for people from diverse backgrounds, with MA uptake at the highest ever levels from those who identified as being care experienced (2.3%), disabled (17%) and from an ethnic minority (4.5%). Achievement rates for these groups also increased year on year.

In addition, 23.5% of MA starts resided in the 20% most deprived areas, compared to 13.8% from the 20% least deprived areas.

Chair of Skills Development Scotland, Frank Mitchell said: “Modern Apprenticeships provide young people with a fantastic opportunity to kick-start their career and earn while they learn, set against a backdrop of cost of living pressure and a focus on creating a workforce fit for the future.

“Through apprenticeships, Scotland is producing a generation of talented and skilled people that can support the needs of employers and the economy.

“More than 38,000 people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds are accessing high-quality jobs and transforming their lives through Modern Apprenticeships.   

“It is very clear that apprenticeships play a vital role in meeting economic, environmental and health and wellbeing challenges and opportunities, helping Scotland to become a fairer, more equal society.”

More achieving for successful careers

Further Education Minister Graeme Dey said: “Modern Apprenticeships play a vital role in giving young people a pathway into a rewarding career that provides them with the tools to support our future economy. It is encouraging to see more young people understand the benefits of apprenticeships and the valuable work-based learning they provide.

“These figures also show that more Modern Apprentices are succeeding, allowing them to continue progressing in their chosen career path.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring that apprenticeships remain of high quality and lead to sustainable employment opportunities characterised by Fair Work.”

The latest Interim Participation Snapshot, published by SDS, shows 92.3% of 16 to 19-year-olds are in learning, training or work – including apprenticeships.

Access the 2023 – 24 Q4 Modern Apprenticeships statistics on the Publications area of the SDS website.