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Apprenticeships key to public sector

Published: 2 Mar 2016 09:45

Devolved public sector youth employment up 11 per cent in two years.

Key public sector bodies including NHS Scotland have heard the benefits of recruiting a young workforce in Glasgow today.

Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work, Skills and Training Roseanna Cunningham joined key public sector speakers at a skill summit at the city's Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus today (Wednesday) as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016.

The summit, hosted by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC), highlighted the health board's leading role in development modern apprenticeships across NHS Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary met a number of NHSGGC Modern Apprentices before outlining why the public sector must continue to invest in youth.

She said: "The Public Sector is a major employer across Scotland and has a key role in developing our future workforce. A range of public sector employers already demonstrate a commitment to supporting young people across Scotland but I would like to see a more consistent approach across all the whole sector.

"In the first quarter of 2015, we saw 2,240 more 16 to 24 year olds working in the devolved public sector compared to the same point in 2013 – an increase of 11 per cent – indicating that progress is being made. This government is committed to delivering 30,000 Modern Apprenticeships starts each year by 2020, which is a step up from this year's target of 25,500, which will be further stretched to 26,000 next year.

"Since we began our own Modern Apprenticeship recruitment in April 2011, we have directly recruited over 350 MAs into the Scottish Government and its main agencies and we remain committed to offering a range of opportunities for unemployed young people.

"Apprenticeships are attractive to the individual – they provide the opportunity to earn a wage while learning skills and achieving an industry recognised qualification – but also make a difference to the businesses who take them on. Those employers recognise the benefits that apprentices bring to their business and they have skilled workers to meet their business needs.

"And of course, helping employers to recruit and develop the workforce they need now and in the future, benefits the Scottish economy as a whole. We should never underestimate how vitally important young people are to our future workforce. We need our young people to learn the skills that will allow them to develop and grow in the public sector."

Skills Development Scotland's public sector lead, Catherine Thomas, said: "More than one-third of public sector workers are expected to retire within the next decade.

"Providing Modern Apprenticeships and encouraging young people to take up careers in the public sector can help address this future skills gap.

"The event brought together public sector bodies to allow them to share their experiences of how best to make apprenticeships work for them and for the young people who benefit from being able to work, learn and earn."

Notes to editors

Attendees from across the public sector heard from speakers including NHSGCC, VisitScotland, Student Awards Agency for Scotland and Amey. Modern Apprentices from NHSGGC, VisitScotland, the University of Strathclyde and Skills Development Scotland also shared their experiences during a question and answer session.

Information on public sector employment is available here.