First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP has announced two new incentives to increase apprenticeship numbers and create opportunities for young people across North Ayrshire and Scotland.
Recognising the challenging circumstances for employers as a result of COVID-19, and the impact on opportunities for young people, more businesses will be able to access financial support to help them take on young people through the new £15 million Apprenticeship Employer Grant.
Supporting the SNP Government’s aim of maximising apprenticeship opportunities in the coming months, the grant will help increase the number of employers able to take on an apprentice or upskill an existing staff member.
The grant will provide:
£5,000 for employers taking on or upskilling a 16 to 24-year old apprentice, and for those aged up to 29 years who are disabled, care leavers and minority ethnic
£3,500 for employers taking on or upskilling an apprentice aged 25 plus
Young people will have the chance to train and get qualifications thanks to another new initiative, also launched today in response to the pandemic.
Part of the £60 million Young Person’s Guarantee, Pathway Apprenticeships will provide a new route into the workplace.
Created for school-leavers up to 18-years-old who might be facing fewer options due to the economic impact of COVID-19, around 1,200 opportunities will be available to young people in the first phase.
These new initiatives are in addition to support for apprentices who have been made redundant as a result of the pandemic through the SNP Government’s £10 million Adopt an Apprentice scheme.
The First Minister said:
“This pandemic has hit us hard, especially our young people who are facing fewer opportunities. We must help this generation who have been caught so cruelly in the eye of the COVID-19 storm.
“To do that we’ve established the £60 million Young Person’s Guarantee. It aims to give everyone aged 16-24 the opportunity of work, education or training. As part of that, our Pathway Apprenticeships programme will provide work-based training which will start by helping 1,200 young people gain key skills in sectors like construction, business, IT, engineering and early years education.
“We will also invest £15 million to help more employers take on an apprentice. Businesses want to give young people opportunities, but for many the impact of the pandemic will make the costs hard to meet. So we’ll pay employers up to £5,000 for every new modern apprentice they take on.
“These are the kind of measures we are taking, working alongside business and trade unions, as part of a national mission to create jobs as we recover from COVID-19. It is essential that young people, who will make up our future workforce, have the opportunity through apprenticeships to build their confidence, gain industry insight and develop valuable skills that employers require.”
Chair of Skills Development Scotland Frank Mitchell said:
“Scottish Government’s support underlines the commitment to apprenticeships and their crucial role in economic recovery.
“Additional funding for employers to recruit apprentices means sustaining vital opportunities for people to work, learn and earn, while ensuring businesses have the critical skills they need.
“Pathway Apprenticeships will support the future employment prospects of Scotland’s young people and offset the rising levels of youth unemployment caused by the economic impact of COVID-19.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP added:
“The SNP Government has always recognised and celebrated the importance of apprentices and this announcement ties in with SNP policies on that.
“The benefit of this funding will be threefold. Not only will these measures help to skill and upskill young people, they will also prevent potential youth employment and help stimulate local businesses at a difficult time.”
£10 million for apprentices was announced by Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop in August. This included Adopt and Apprentice.
The £15 million Apprenticeship Employer Grant funding will be available for eligible employers where the apprenticeship start date was on or after 1st December 2020.
Funding will be available for starts until 25th March 2020 or until funding levels are exceeded, whichever comes first.
The application process for the Apprenticeship Employer Grant will open from the beginning of January.
Pathways Apprenticeships will offer 26 weeks of training with a £100 weekly allowance. This can be extended for participants who are disabled or care experienced.