1 May 2013
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
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
BT is backing Scottish Apprenticeship Week by hosting a series of
events across the country and promoting MAs to secondary school
Angela Constance, Minister for Youth Employment, said: "My message
to employers has consistently been to make young people their
"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
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
"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
For more information on how to become a Modern Apprenticeship
visit My World
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
0141 285 6127
Notes to Editors:
Photographs available on request.