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Apprenticeships are important for Scotland's future talent

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By Jim Anderson, Head of External Funding

In Scotland’s pursuit of economic growth and prosperity, the ‘skills gap’ is often flagged as a barrier.  Apprenticeships allow young people to bridge this ‘gap’ by gaining on-the-job experience while studying - giving them the tools required to succeed in the world of work.

As Scottish Apprenticeship Week approaches (1 - 5 March), it’s worth reflecting on the value offered to students by the various apprenticeship programmes.

Modern Apprenticeships offer opportunities in an industry that suits a student’s strengths, preparing them for work, offering vital experience and often paving the way for a lifelong career.

With employers encouraged to invest in young people and the re-training of their current workforce, the Modern Apprenticeship programme equips young people and the future workforce with the abilities to meet evolving industries and unknown markets.

96% of Modern Apprentices say they felt more able to do their job and felt positive about their career once they had completed the programme. Like a traditional apprenticeship, the Modern Apprenticeship programme also encourages retention with 92% of apprentices staying in work once qualified.

For employers, this talented, highly skilled workforce can bring fresh ideas to the table as well as an understanding of a company’s ethos and values.

Although COVID-19 and lockdown restrictions have made it slightly more challenging to run the programme at scale across all industry sectors, we have seen growth as we move into 2021. Our largest growth sector is Social Care and Health Care with a 100% increase across the sector, and numbers continuing to grow.

New to Glasgow Clyde College this year is the offer of the Pathway Apprenticeship programme, aimed at all young people aged between 16 – 19 years.

Developed by Skills Development Scotland and partners, the programme provides training, work challenge development skills and work experience at SCQF Levels 5 and 6.

The college is offering four new courses within the Pathway Apprenticeship scheme - Business Skills, IT Digital Hardware, IT Digital Software and Childcare (Children and Young People).

These programmes are tailor made and last up to 26 weeks, boosting a young person’s career and building confidence, knowledge, skills, and employability. All programmes are fully funded and provide a financial support through a weekly training allowance.

Scotland continues to require solid economic growth to ensure its future prosperity, and the ‘skills gaps’ is often cited as one of the blockers of that growth. 

Providing apprenticeship training along with workplace learning supports young people on their transition to the fast-moving world of work as well as bridging the ‘gap’. With a high retention rate, apprenticeship programmes also encourage students to stay in Scotland, contributing to a growing economy and developing industries that build a strong economy for the future.