£10m fund to help apprentices return to work
Economy secretary Fiona Hyslop has announced a £10 million package of measures to recruit and retain apprentices, including additional funding for the Scottish Government’s Adopt an Apprentice programme.
Putting Scotland’s future workforce at the heart of rebuilding the economy following the coronavirus pandemic, the funding aims to help modern and graduate apprentices who are facing redundancy get back into work.
Ms Hyslop said: “The young people who will make up our future workforce are among those who have been hardest hit by this pandemic. As such, it is crucial that we support them and ensure they are at the heart of our economic recovery from COVID-19.
“This targeted funding will extend the reach of our support for apprentices, including our Adopt an Apprentice programme. Combined with our commitment of at least £50m for youth employment and the Youth Guarantee, we will ensure no one is left behind.
“Apprenticeships are not only valuable for our young people, they are a key way for all employers to invest in their workforce, and provide the skills the economy needs both now and in the future.
“Our focus is on protecting jobs, creating jobs, ensuring quality jobs and supporting skilled jobs. By taking this action to protect and support skilled jobs now, we will rebuild a stronger, fairer and greener future for Scotland.”
Frank Mitchell, chair of Skills Development Scotland, said: “This welcome announcement underlines the importance of apprentices to the Scottish economy and the crucial role they will play in supporting individuals and businesses in the recovery from COVID-19.
“We will continue to liaise with the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board and other employer organisations on the development and delivery of employer incentives and subsidies. SDS is also fully engaged with the work Sandy Begbie is leading on the development of a jobs guarantee for young people in order to maximise the use of all available incentives towards the retention and recruitment of apprentices.”
Further immediate investment to support economic recovery from COVID-19 was set out last week by the Scottish Government, with additional funding for workforce training and digital technology announced.
The Flexible Workforce Development Fund, which helps employers upskill and reskill their existing workforce through college courses, will be increased from £10m to £20m. Meanwhile, a further £1.5m will be invested into the Digital Boost programme - almost trebling the capacity of the initiative for the remainder of this financial year.