Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Can apprenticeships fill the skills gap in Scotland?

Can apprenticeships fill the skills gap in Scotland? Of course they can! The lack of skills within young people could impact our economic growth. This being identified has caused a greater focus on apprenticeships to provide a solution. The article featured on RBS Business Sense explains a little more what issues we are facing and what is being done as a nation.

“A survey published by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) in January found that 146,200 job vacancies were unfilled due to a lack of skills and warned that a sharp rise in skills shortages could put a brake on the UK’s economic recovery. In fact, skills shortage vacancies accounted for more than one in five of all vacancies (22%) - up from one in six (16%) in 2009.

The CBI (Confederation for British Industry) poll discovered that 39% of employers were struggling to recruit workers with the advanced science, technology, engineering and maths skills they needed, with 41% fearing such shortages will persist for the next three years.

As part of a push to fill these gaps, Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget increased investment in the government’s Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) scheme by £85m in 2014/15 and 2015/16, with the aim for it to support another 100,000 apprentices.

This scheme, solely for employers with fewer than 50 employees, is designed to offer firms that have not taken on an apprentice in the past 12 months grants of up to £1,500 per apprentice aged 16-24, up to a maximum of 10 trainees.

Alongside the grant extension, Osborne pledged £20m of funding over two years to create degree-level apprenticeships.”

It is important that we address the skills gaps at an early stage and focus on the curriculum of excellence to improve the way young people view subjects. The general consensus is choosing whatever looks easiest or what looks fun. We need to change this mentality and focus on what skills they will gain from each subject and convey the bigger picture.

“96% of apprentice employers reporting benefits to their business,” says Woodward.

Greater productivity is reported by around 72% of apprentice employers, with the average Apprenticeship completer increasing business productivity by £214 per week,” she continues.”

Apprenticeships in Scotland is a youth led social enterprise, each member of staff have completed or are undergoing an apprenticeship. There sometimes is a stereotype surrounding the work ethics of young people, but we are living proof that there are motivated individuals out there! Take the first steps and contact us today.

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has created an apprenticeship reform programme which is taking place in 2016/17 to create new frameworks that are better suited to employers.

According to UKCES, a larger proportion of employers face skills gaps in Scotland (19%) than anywhere else in the UK.

Because of this, it’s of little surprise that employers in Scotland are among the most likely to be prepared to invest in training and up-skilling of employees, with 70% of employers saying they had funded or arranged training in the past months, according to UKCES.

In the article it states that one industry that  is particularly suffering from shortages is oil and gas, predominantly based around Aberdeen. A survey by recruitment firm in December concluded there was a severe shortage of qualified staff available to employers in the industry, which would in turn push up wages by 15% during 2014.

Apprenticeships in Scotland meet with thousands of young people each year, and the most attractive sectors were the ones in this article. There is definitely a missing link between education and employment, perhaps this is a gap that employers can work  on with schools?

If you would like to know more about taking on a young person, call our youth opportunities team today. Our number is 01334 844 900 Alternatively, you could email us on

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