Scottish Government
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More than 25,000 new apprentices

Increase in young MA starts and those taking higher level qualifications.

25,247 Modern Apprentices (MAs) started training in 2014/15, again exceeding the Scottish Government’s annual target.

Figures released by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) yesterday confirm that more than 101,000 people in Scotland have started an MA in the last four years. There has also been an increase in the proportion of 16 to 24 year olds, and those starting an MA at a higher level.

Speaking at Score Group at Cowdenbeath, where she met a number of female engineering MAs, Minister for Youth and Women’s Employment Annabelle Ewing said yesterday:

“Fresh from a hugely successful Scottish Apprenticeship Week, today’s figures give us another chance to highlight the importance of MAs to the Scottish economy. 101,000 new starts in this parliamentary term alone is a remarkable achievement and the perfect platform to push for 30,000 new opportunities each year from 2020.

“As we move towards this target, it is vital that we continue to tackle inequality and we are taking action to ensure more women are aware of the tremendous opportunities that an MA offers to learn while you earn. It’s particularly good to see a rise in the number of girls doing MAs at SVQ level 3 or above. Young people must see the full range of options available to them, not just those that are traditionally seen as jobs for men or for women.

“Our national programme for Developing the Young Workforce outlines a number of further actions to tackle inequality and we have given Skills Development Scotland £500,000 to move forward with an equalities action plan that will also benefit care leavers, the disabled and minority groups.

“Apprenticeships not only offer our young people better job prospects – they also have a positive impact on businesses and industry, bringing value to employers and our economy. Youth unemployment has reached its lowest level in seven years and we compare very well to other EU countries, but I would urge more businesses to consider how an MA could help them grow and prosper.”

Damien Yeates, Chief Executive of Skills Development Scotland, added:

“It’s a great testament to employers in Scotland that they have sustained their investment in Modern Apprenticeship opportunities right through the economic downturn.

“It’s also a great credit to the Modern Apprentices that so many have successfully completed, or are on their way to completing, their apprenticeship.

“The enduring appeal of Modern Apprenticeships is that they are driven by employer demand, and for the individual they allow the apprentices to get a job and learn while they earn.”

Notes To Editors

The figures can be found at also show:

  • 80 per cent of starts were aged 16 to 24, an increase of 1 percentage point compared to last year
  • 64 per cent of starts were at level 3 or above, an increase of 2 percentage points on last year
  • The achievement rate for MAs in 2014-15 was 74 per cent. Other data from SDS shows that moving to a better job is the most common reason why MAs do not complete
  • 454 Modern Apprentices were made redundant, 17 per cent fewer than in 2013-14
    • 60 per cent of MA starts were male and 40 per cent were female
    • 1.4 per cent of MA starts self-reported as being from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups, a slight increase on 2013/14 levels
  • In addition, SDS report that there is under-reporting in the disability statistics in this publication and are taking steps to improve this in consultation with key disability groups. This work will complete in the summer and they will report findings in future statistical publications.


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