Scottish Government unveils £25m apprenticeship support packages

Nicola Sturgeon

THE Scottish Government has announced two new incentives to increase apprenticeships in the country.

In total, £25 million will be made available to boost apprenticeships following the challenging circumstances faced by businesses as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Firms will now be able to access financial support to help them take on more young people through the new £15 million apprenticeship employer grant.

The grant will provide:

  • £5,000 for employers taking on or upskilling a 16 to 24-year old apprentice, and for those aged up to 29 years who are disabled, care leavers and Minority Ethnic
  • £3,500 for employers taking on or upskilling an apprentice aged 25 plus

In addition to this, apprentices who have been made redundant as a result of the pandemic will be able to access the support through the Scottish Government’s adopt an apprentice scheme. The initiative helps firms cover wage and recruitment costs of hiring an apprentice.

The schemes come alongside the £60 million young person’s guarantee, pathway apprenticeships. The initiative is created for school-leavers up to 18-years-old who might be facing fewer options due to the economic impact of the pandemic.

Nicola Sturgeon, first minister of Scotland, said, “This pandemic has hit us hard – especially our young people who are facing fewer opportunities. We must help this generation who have been caught so cruelly in the eye of the Covid-19 storm. To do that we’ve established the £60 million Young Person’s Guarantee. It aims to give everyone aged 16-24 the opportunity of work, education or training. As part of that, our Pathway Apprenticeships programme will provide work-based training which will start by helping 1,200 young people gain key skills in sectors like construction, business, IT, engineering and early years education.

“We will also invest £15 million to help more employers take on an apprentice. Businesses want to give young people opportunities, but for many the impact of the pandemic will make the costs hard to meet. So we’ll pay employers up to £5,000 for every new modern apprentice they take on. These are the kind of measures we are taking, working alongside business and trade unions, as part of a national mission to create jobs as we recover from Covid-19. It is essential that young people, who will make up our future workforce, have the opportunity through apprenticeships to build their confidence, gain industry insight and develop valuable skills that employers require.”

Chair of Skills Development Scotland, Frank Mitchell, said, “Scottish Government’s support underlines the commitment to apprenticeships and their crucial role in economic recovery. Additional funding for employers to recruit apprentices means sustaining vital opportunities for people to work, learn and earn, while ensuring businesses have the critical skills they need. Pathway Apprenticeships will support the future employment prospects of Scotland’s young people and offset the rising levels of youth unemployment caused by the economic impact of Covid-19.”