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21/02/14 10:00

Apprenticeship numbers rising

More Modern Apprenticeship starts in Scotland year-on-year

More than 19,000 people started Modern Apprenticeship during the first three quarters of the financial year.

The number of new apprenticeship starts between April and December 2013 rose by almost 1200 compared to the same period the previous year – a rise of seven per cent.

Figures for the first three quarters of the financial year show that the Scottish Government’s target of at least 25,000 new MAs every year is well on course to be met this year.

Latest figures cover the first three quarters of 2013/14 and show:

  • There were 19,124 Modern Apprenticeship starts at December 2013, 77 per cent of the annual target of 25,000, and an increase of 7 per cent compared to the same point the previous year
  • The largest proportion of starts in the year to date was in construction and related occupations – 17 per cent
  • 63 per cent of starts were at level 3 or above, a rise from 61 per cent on the previous year
  • The overall number of MAs in training rose from 35,915 at the same point last year to 36,846
  • The overall achievement rate was for Modern Apprenticeships was 78 per cent, an increase of one percentage point from the same quarter last year.

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance:

“This is the first time that Skills Development Scotland has expanded its quarterly report on Modern Apprenticeship data to include commentary and analysis, which will help inform decisions made at a local and national level as we examine trends and where need exists.

“This is a very useful step, and these figures are very encouraging, painting an improving picture for Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland.

“The Scottish Government is committed to a target of at least 25,000 new starts each year and today’s publication shows we are well on course to hit this for a third consecutive year, which is a credit to SDS, employers and training providers.

“But this isn’t just about the numbers, there are thousands of stories underpinning such statistics, and each MA completed successfully is fantastic news, not just for the individual behind it, but also for their employer and the sector they work in.

“Key areas, such as construction and engineering are very well represented, with exciting longer-term careers available across the board.

“But we know that there is more that can be done to support young people towards work and that opportunities exist outwith Modern Apprenticeships.

“Colleges have prioritised full-time courses for young people and every 16 to 19-year-old has the guaranteed offer of a place in education or training.

“However, in 2014 I hope to see more employers making young people their business

“Taking on a keen, enthusiastic young person isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good for business.

“I want more employers not just help the younger generation fulfil their potential, but harness their skills for Scotland’s wider economic benefit.”

Skills Development Scotland Chief Executive, Damien Yeates, said:

“The figures are encouraging and are a testament to the efforts of employers and individuals apprentices across the country.

“Businesses that employ modern apprentices, and apprentices themselves, play a vital and valuable role in Scotland’s economy.

“Skills Development Scotland will continue to support employers to provide more opportunities to help people develop their careers in the future.”



ACE Winches, Turiff, Aberdeenshire, apprentice

Apprentice Gavin Buchan, a Qualified Machinist with ACE Winches started his Modern Apprenticeship in 2009.

He said: "The programme has been a great experience for me as I have gained valuable hands-on experience and a variety of skills, as well as a recognised qualification as a machinist.

"I'm also responsible for mentoring other apprentices going though the ACE Winches scheme.

"The MA programme has certainly improved my career prospects and opened up opportunities for me here at ACE.

"An apprenticeship is something I would encourage other young people to consider as a great way to start their working life."

ACE Winches, Turiff, Aberdeenshire, employer

CEO of ACE Winches, Alfie Cheyne, said: "ACE Winches is proud to be a supporter of the modern apprenticeship programme.

"We have employed modern apprentices since 1996 and the young people we recruit not only add value to the business but enable us to develop a talent pipeline for the future."


Hawick Knitwear, Hawick, Scottish Borders, employer

Hawick Knitwear HR manager Rhona McLeod said: "Modern Apprenticeships are fundamental to what we do.

"Trainees get a qualification which is recognised UK-wide and we get loyal and enthusiastic employees who see that apprenticeships are not only good for the company but good for them too.

"With an aging workforce, we have to make the industry more appealing to young people.

"Providing Modern Apprenticeships is one way to do that.”


Selex ES, Edinburgh, apprentice

Elise Littlejohn, from Edinburgh, completed her craft apprenticeship at defence electronics company Selex ES in August 2013.

The 21-year-old says that her Modern Apprenticeship was the best career move she could have made.

She said: “Four years of experience on the job and gaining qualifications ahs been invaluable.

“The practical experience that apprenticeships provide speaks very loudly in our favour.”

Selex ES, Edinburgh, apprentice

Mechanical engineer Allan Speed, 25, completed his apprenticeship at defence electronics company Selex ES last year.

He said: “People should always consider their options.

“The benefits of an apprenticeship for me were getting real on-the-job experience, gaining qualifications and getting paid.

“Because of my apprenticeship and because Selex ES is a large and supportive company there are lots of opportunities for the future.”

Morgan Stanley, Glasgow, apprentice

Accounting apprentice Arman Hussain was one of Morgan Stanley’s first finance Modern Apprentices.

The 20-year-old from Inverkip wanted to get an industry recognised qualification while gaining on the job experience.

He said: “I wanted to go into the business world straight from school and while I could have gone to university, I knew that it wasn’t what I wanted to do.

“Not even the best universities could offer the work experience and skills that I developed through my apprenticeship.

“The Modern Apprenticeship has been an alternative career route to achieve the same goals had I gone to university.”