Small and Medium size businesses in the manufacturing, textiles, food and drink and energy sectors will be given a £2,000 financial incentive to take on a new apprentice.
Announcing the new 'Invest in an Apprentice' scheme at Renewable Devices Swift Turbines Ltd, a small renewable energy company in Edinburgh, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Fiona Hyslop said:
"This Government is committed to doing everything that we can to help people in this current economic climate and ScotAction is the Scottish Government's skills support package for providing real financial support to businesses and individuals through the recession.
"Apprentices are vital for Scotland's recovery. That is why I am inviting small and medium size businesses in the manufacturing, textiles, food and drink and energy sectors to take advantage of this Scottish Government and European Social Fund incentive of £2,000 to take on a new 16-19 year old apprentice.
"Our whole economy has faced massive challenges over recent months. However, in order to ensure that our economy continues to be competitive in a global market over the next few years we need to invest now in people who can develop the skills that we will need in the future.
"Today sees the launch of the update to the Scottish Government's Economic Recovery Plan and it is clear that the action that this Government has taken to support Modern Apprenticeships demonstrates that we can deliver practical help to grow businesses, create jobs and support employment."
Dr David Anderson, Director of Renewable Devices Swift Turbines Ltd said:
'The recession is having an affect on all business and finances can be tight - even in the growing renewable energy sector. As a small business we constantly need to balance the need to keep our short to medium term cashflow workable for the business with the requirement to build a skilled workforce for the future. We currently do not have an apprentice, but as a result of today's funding announcement Renewable Devices will definitely be considering taking an apprentice on in the future'
Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables said:
"The renewable energy industry is growing at an incredible rate, and that means a strong demand for all types and levels of skills.
"A lack of suitably skilled people has been identified as one of the main barriers to future growth.
"This additional support will allow more employers of all sizes to take on apprentices, which will help reduce skills gaps and bring more young people into this exciting and fast-developing industry.
"We would urge employers of all sizes to take advantage of this extra finance and to get in touch with Skills Development Scotland or their local college to find out about the range of public sector support and advice available to help them grow their business."
ScotAction is an integrated package combining new and improved measures to help individuals and businesses through the recession and will provide skills assistance - including wage subsidies in some circumstances - for training for work, training in work and training from work to work to help Scottish people and businesses survive the downturn and thrive when the economy starts to recover.
Through ScotAction, the Scottish Government has announced much support for the Apprenticeship Programme over the last few months. We have made £16 million available for an additional 7,800 Modern Apprentices. £6 million has been made available to fund an additional 1,000 apprentices in Glasgow over the next three years to support the Commonwealth Games legacy, we have funded 50 apprentices in the Creative Sector and announced funding for 100 apprenticeships for Home Energy and Efficiency in partnership with Scottish and Southern Energy. We have also announced that a new apprenticeship framework for the Life Science industry has now been developed to support the growth of one of our key sectors in Scotland. In June the First Minister announced that the Government would fund 2 for 1 Life Science Apprenticeships. The Cabinet Secretary also announced the 'Adopt An Apprentice' scheme where employers can receive a helping hand of £2000 to employ a redundant apprentice and the Government has also introduced an additional 170 early years modern apprenticeships. In August the Cabinet Secretary also announced funding for 2000 MAs for the retail sector.
Skills Development Scotland, Scotland's national skills agency, will play a leading role in taking forward the delivery of the initiatives that ScotAction will deliver for Scotland at this time.