Record number of training opportunities
The leading training body of Scotland’s construction industry today rejected criticism of Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship programme and praised it for meeting the demands of industry and the needs of individuals.
Graeme Ogilvy, director of ConstructionSkills, said: “Employers enrol their apprentices onto the programme at the start of the college term in September.
“That should not stop us hiring young people earlier in the year and giving them a job. Any change would deny these young people the chance of paid employment. You have to ask if that would that be useful right now.
“The Scottish Government is right to keep the eligibility criteria for funding without any qualifying criteria such as time in the job. This meets business requirements, gives more people the opportunity to train to industry standards and reduces unnecessary red tape that hinders success.”
Since their introduction in Scotland in 1994, the Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme – which last year saw more than 25,000 new starts - has been available to develop the existing workforce as well as supporting new recruits.
Record Scottish Government funding of £72 million in 2011/12 and a targeting of support towards young people, meant that four out of five (81 per cent) 16 to 19 year-old MA starts had been in post less than six months, according to records of funding body Skills Development Scotland (SDS).
Seventy seven per cent of MA starts in 2011/12 aged 16-24 were in employment for less than six months. Of those aged 25+ this figure was 35 per cent. Research commissioned by Scottish Enterprise in 2006 indicate that corresponding figures in 2006 were 51 per cent and nine per cent respectively.
Employers will often enrol recruits for apprenticeships after they have been in post for a period of time.
Angela Constance, Minister for Youth Employment, said:
“It is simply wrong to claim that the Modern Apprenticeship programme is not helping the people it should. It has always been demand-led and all entrants must be in employment.
“In place for more than 10 years, it has always been about supporting new recruits and helping the economy as a whole by allowing employers to improve the skills of their existing staff.
“What has changed is that we have targeted record investment of £72 million towards those who need it most, meaning that four out of five 16 to 19 year-old MAs are recently in post.
“What is clear is that this government has got its priorities right and is helping to give more young people than ever before a hand onto the career ladder.”