Scottish apprenticeships will receive an additional £10 million of funding under a new initiative announced by Scottish Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop.
Aimed at supporting a range of measures to recruit and retain apprentices, the funding package will include additional investment in the Scottish Government’s Adopt an Apprentice programme.
Commenting on the announcement, Hyslop revealed the funding will help modern and graduate apprentices who are facing redundancy as a result of Covid-19 get back into work.
She said: “The young people who will make up our future workforce are among those who have been hardest hit by this pandemic. As such, it is crucial that we support them and ensure they are at the heart of our economic recovery from Covid-19.
“This targeted funding will extend the reach of our support for apprentices, including our Adopt an Apprentice programme. Combined with our commitment of at least £50 million for youth employment and the Youth Guarantee, we will ensure no one is left behind.”
Hyslop added: “Apprenticeships are not only valuable for our young people, they are a key way for all employers to invest in their workforce, and provide the skills the economy needs both now and in the future.
“Our focus is on protecting jobs, creating jobs, ensuring quality jobs and supporting skilled jobs. By taking this action to protect and support skilled jobs now, we will rebuild a stronger, fairer and greener future for Scotland.”
Chair of Skills Development Scotland Frank Mitchell commented: “This welcome announcement underlines the importance of apprentices to the Scottish economy and the crucial role they will play in supporting individuals and businesses in the recovery from Covid-19.
“We will continue to liaise with the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board and other employer organisations on the development and delivery of employer incentives and subsidies.
“SDS is also fully engaged with the work Sandy Begbie is leading on the development of a jobs guarantee for young people in order to maximise the use of all available incentives towards the retention and recruitment of apprentices.”
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The Scottish Government previously set out further investment to support the country’s economic recovery from Covid-19 with additional funding for workforce training and digital technology.
The Flexible Workforce Development Fund, which helps employers up-skill and re-skill their existing workforce through college courses, will be increased from £10 million to £20 million.
Meanwhile, a further £1.5 million will be invested into the Digital Boost programme – almost trebling the capacity of the initiative for the remainder of this financial year.
Now in its fifth year, DigitalBoost is a national digital business skills programme which provides businesses with free support to help them take advantage of technologies, improve productivity, increase resilience, and create new market opportunities.
The initiative has received annual funding since being established, and this year’s twofold increase underlines the importance of the programme and its role in contributing to the country’s economic recovery. The funding will run until 5th April 2021 with hopes that it will continue further beyond that.