Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has hailed the growing success of apprenticeships in Scotland.
The number of Modern Apprenticeship starts increased to a record 26,262 in 2016-17, exceeding the Scottish Government’s 26,000 target. There were 873 new starts in the Falkirk Council area.
The latest figures, released by Skills Development Scotland, show 76% of new starts were aged between 16 and 24. In Falkirk, the total number of 16- to 24-year-olds who were in Modern Apprenticeship training at the end of March was 1210 – accounting for 12.1% of the workforce in that age group.
Meanwhile, the Scottish Government has also announced the expansion of Graduate Level Apprenticeships, which will give hundreds of people the opportunity to study for a degree, up to Masters level, while in employment.
The nationwide programme is delivered by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with businesses, universities and colleges. After a successful pilot scheme in 2016-17, the number of Graduate Level Apprenticeship places will be increased from 27 to 379 in 2017-18.
Mr Matheson said: “The Scottish Government is delivering on its promise to increase the number of apprenticeships, which have played a big part in ensuring that Scotland is among the countries with the lowest youth unemployment in the European Union.
“It’s encouraging that so many young people in Falkirk district are making the most of the opportunity to earn while they learn. It’s also great to see that people with a disability made up 9% of local new starts, which underlines the commitment to equality of opportunity within Modern Apprenticeships.”
Minister for Employability and Training Jamie Hepburn added: “As we work towards our 2020 target of expanding the number of Modern Apprenticeship starts to 30,000 each year, we are continuing to enhance our apprenticeship programme so it brings the right balance of opportunities to suit employers and the workforce.
“We are also expanding the number of Graduate Level Apprenticeships, giving more individuals the chance to take on work-based learning through universities.”
Skills Development Scotland chief executive Damien Yeates said: “It’s great news for young people, employers and Scotland as a whole that we now have a record number of Modern Apprentices.”
Find out more about the opportunities on offer at www.apprenticeships.scot