More employers getting behind apprenticeships

More employers getting behind apprenticeships

More businesses are backing new apprenticeships, with many more to benefit this year. 

More than 3,500 new foundation and graduate apprenticeship opportunities are to be offered in 2018; helping to boost Scotland’s economy and give young people a head-start in their careers.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) works with the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB) to ensure there is a demand-led, responsive and adaptive work-based learning system for employers and the Scottish economy.

Steven Grier is country manager at Microsoft and member of the SAAB Equalities Group. Grier says: “It is hugely important for Scotland as a country that we look at every possible career journey that can help bridge some of the skills gaps we can see appearing in the technology and digital landscape.

“The popularity of the modern apprenticeship programmes has been inspirational and it’s really encouraging to see foundation apprenticeships and graduate apprenticeships adding to the possibilities.”

Industry bodies such as the Scottish Chamber of Commerce, CBI Scotland and the Centre for Engineering Education & Development (CeeD) support the apprenticeship drive. Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive and Director of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, says: “With more businesses committing to taking on apprentices and young people, Scotland will be ready to grasp the future economic opportunities that lie ahead.”

SCDI chief Mark Bevan says: “Apprenticeships allow individuals to work, learn and earn whilst allowing our membership to develop the correct skills for success - now and in the future.”

David Watt, executive director of the Institute of Directors Scotland, says: “The IoD in Scotland really values the role that SDS plays in upskilling the workforce – particularly our young people.  It is fantastic to see such a large number of them engaged with employers.”

Andy Willox, Scottish policy convenor of FSB Scotland says: “Developing skills is always important and apprenticeships offer a great way for small businesses to provide on-the-job training for their staff.”

SDS is supporting around 2,600 foundation apprenticeships for pupils and approximately 900 graduate apprenticeships in 2018. As Scotland’s skills body, SDS already works with industry and employers, supporting more than 26,000 modern apprenticeships last year, set to rise to 30,000 per year by 2020. 

The new foundation and graduate apprenticeships have been developed by SDS with support from the European Social Fund and are backed by employers, universities, colleges and schools across the country. 

SDS chief executive Damien Yeates says work-based learning and apprenticeships are vital for Scotland’s future prosperity. He says: “Scotland has great ambitions to increase productivity and generate inclusive growth, all against the backdrop of an ageing population, rapid technological change and real pressure on public spending. 

“This means finding new and innovative ways, such as Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships, to match the skills people develop with the ones employers need.”

Modern apprenticeships are jobs where people can work, learn and earn towards an industry qualification. New foundation apprenticeships are for pupils to take alongside their school subjects, while graduate apprenticeships are for employees to benefit from work-based learning up to degree level.

Engineering firm GE Caledonian’s apprentice leader, Stephen McNab, says foundation apprenticeships give young people a vehicle to take them from a school environment to the workplace, while gaining vital skills. 

He says: “It is also about foundation apprenticeships giving us a solid talent pipeline a year in advance. We get an idea of people’s potential a year earlier and, without a doubt, it helps us find the right people.”


More information about how employers can get involved with apprenticeships is available at