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Despite the many obstacles that Covid-19 has brought to the Scottish work landscape, employers will benefit from the opportunity to educate young people, writes Frank Mitchell, chair of Skills Development Scotland.
No one has been spared the effects of the Covid 19 pandemic in Scotland. The proof shows that young people have been hit harder than the rest of us when it comes to job opportunities. The protection and health of colleagues is an absolute priority, both as an employer at Scottish Power Energy Networks and as Chair of Skills Development Scotland.
A strong emphasis on young people is included in this.
It can be enticing for business leaders to think about cultivating young talent as a problem for tomorrow at a time when many organizations around the country are focused on survival.
Scotland should not refuse young people one of the most straightforward paths to a fulfilling future – an apprenticeship – even in tough times.
It is promising that, with funding from the Work Retention Scheme and other government initiatives, the vast majority of Scottish employers who train apprentices have been able to stand by their young people and see their apprentices through the current pandemic.
They deserve my heartfelt thanks for this and they will continue to receive Skills Development Scotland’s support. Although we continue to help the current apprentice generation, it has never been more important to build opportunities for young people.
The Scottish Government has committed to minimizing youth unemployment triggered by the pandemic with the new implementation of the Young Person’s Guarantee. After leaving school, the guarantee properly covers a variety of opportunities – employment, volunteering, learning and training.
In what has felt like the bleakest of times, it is a bold commitment. Unlike other ways of learning and training, the offer of a career or the opportunity to get into work is not an apprenticeship.
There is funding to give young people the ability to build a stronger carbon challenge for the future. It’s a task from day one – working, earning and learning. An apprenticeship provides opportunities for sustainable jobs at a moment when it is most needed by young people. In a young person, the opportunity that an apprenticeship will unleash is directly proportional to the benefits of having a professional workforce for employers.
The number of new apprenticeships has decreased in the last six months after more than a decade of rapid growth. This is not shocking – we know that, as a result of the pandemic, the labor market has contracted and that the number of advertised jobs has dropped in almost every sector of the economy. It is important, however, that we minimize this disruption – there has never been a greater need to promote educational opportunities and work-based learning pathways.
We know the Scottish economy depends on talent – more than 12,000 employers funded apprenticeships before the pandemic. The steady rise over the years and the regulated expansion of apprenticeships have been in line with the rising demand of employers for the growth of the workforce.
In recent years, new programs, such as Foundation Apprenticeships for School Students and Graduate Apprenticeships, are building a world-leading work-based learning environment right here in Scotland.
The Government of Scotland remains strongly committed to the long-term role of apprenticeships in economic regeneration, fostering economic development and creating the best job opportunities for young people. The Scottish Government focuses on youth jobs, training and apprenticeships through its Government Programme to stop the “scars of youth unemployment.”
By enhancing facilities and providing new support to apprentices, employers and training providers, SDS and its partners have responded to the pandemic. Funding for Adopt an Apprentice has been raised from £ 2000 to £ 5000, to enable employers take on redundant apprentices. In order to help them obtain skills, the Apprentice Transfer Plan service will also offer more assistance for apprentices who are made redundant at the end of their apprenticeship.
There will also be openings for the new “Pathway Apprenticeships”