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Apprenticeship potential revealed

1 May 2013

  • Modern Apprenticeships
  • SDS Press Release Archive

BT chief calls on fellow business leaders to hire young people as new figures show 88% of firms don't offer modern apprenticeships.

The boss of one of Scotland's biggest companies is urging employers to take on apprentices after it was revealed that just 12% of Scottish firms offer Modern Apprenticeships.

Speaking at the launch of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2013 at the SCDI Future Skills Summit, Director of BT Scotland Brendan Dick warned that the majority of businesses are missing out by not recruiting through the programme.

New figures this week showed yet another fall in youth unemployment north of the border following the second year that the Scottish Government met its target of creating 25,000 new modern apprenticeship starts.

However, Mr Dick outlined the potential benefit to the economy of an increase in the number of businesses offering MAs saying young people are "the green shoots of Scotland's future growth".

Commenting on the findings of the UKCES Employer Perspectives Survey 2012, which showed that 88% did not offer modern apprenticeships, Mr Dick said: "The UKCES figures highlight the need for more business leaders to recognise the importance of making young people a central part of their business.

"It doesn't have to be a Modern Apprenticeship - even if just half the businesses in Scotland took on a young person we could end youth unemployment overnight."

He added: "The recession has impacted on Scotland's youth but, as a major employer, BT recognises the importance of making young people our business.

"By taking on young recruits BT is bringing new skills and innovation to the business which is why we have made apprenticeships a core part of our talent strategy."

The SCDI Future Skills Summit formally kicks off Scottish Apprenticeship Week (May 20-24) that aims to encourage more employers to get involved in the MA programme and realise the business benefits.

BT is backing Scottish Apprenticeship Week by hosting a series of events across the country and promoting MAs to secondary school pupils.

Angela Constance, Minister for Youth Employment, said: "My message to employers has consistently been to make young people their business.

"While an increasing range of businesses across Scotland are creating opportunities for apprentices to make their mark, these figures show that it is vital we continue encouraging employers to consider how young people can aid their growth.

"I fully agree with Brendan Dick that businesses can gain a lot by creating roles for Modern Apprentices.

"Supporting more young people into jobs is a top priority for the Scottish Government and we are working hard to improve the employment options available to them.

"We have put in place a guaranteed offer of a place in education or training for every 16 to 19-year-old, as well as £29 million of investment to create thousands of jobs in the third sector over three years for young people through Community Jobs Scotland.

"We are also investing in locally-delivered employer recruitment incentives which will offer financial support to small companies willing to invest in giving young people a job.

"The forthcoming Scottish Apprenticeship Week offers a fantastic opportunity to proudly celebrate the skills and enthusiasm apprentices bring to the workplace."

Skills Development Scotland - which funds the MA programme - recently introduced a new employer services team to ensure businesses are aware of the benefits of apprenticeships as well as giving them access to more direct support and advice to help them develop the skills they require in today's competitive environment.

Gordon McGuinness, Head of Industry and Enterprise Networks at SDS, explained: "SDS is committed to engaging directly with businesses across the country to ensure we address their skills needs.

"We are working to keep them informed of how SDS, and our partners, can support them in developing their workforce and this includes highlighting the benefits of the MA programme to companies of all sizes, from micro to global enterprises." 

Led by SDS, Scottish Apprenticeship Week will see over 80 events take place across the country to promote the programme, including apprentices swapping places with senior bosses and business breakfasts for employers.

Professor Lesley Sawers, Chief Executive of SCDI said: "Within SCDI we recognise that Scotland has untapped talent within its young people and we believe that the private sector has a key role to play in ensuring young people who are experiencing difficulties in today's labour market do not become a lost generation.

"If just over one in five businesses in Scotland employed one extra young person as a Modern Apprentice, we would significantly reduce youth unemployment and change the economic life chances of a generation and a nation."


Further details about Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2013.

For more information about what Modern Apprenticeships can do for business visit Our Skillsforce.

For more information on how to become a Modern Apprenticeship visit My World of Work

Fiona Riddell
External Communications
0141 285 6127

Notes to Editors:

Photographs available on request.

  • Skills Development Scotland is highlighting the advantages of hiring a Modern Apprentice to employers by leading Scottish Apprenticeship Week during May 20-24
  • Scottish Apprenticeship Week will officially launch at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry's Future Skills Summit on Friday May 17. It will bring together 150 thought-leaders, skills specialists, business leaders, learners and trade unions
  • More than 11,000 employers in Scotland are already taking advantage of the Modern Apprenticeship programme
  • Employers have their training costs partly met by SDS and are able to have a training provider on hand to assist if required
  • There are more than 80 different occupational frameworks available - from wind turbine technician to business administration
  • All Modern Apprentices in Scotland must be employed to be eligible for a publicly-funded contribution to their training costs
  • During Scottish Apprenticeship Week this year's Modern Apprenticeship Awards will be launched. The Awards aim to showcase those who have demonstrated initiative, enterprise and outstanding commitment to the improvement of skills development for the Scottish economy.