A celebration of apprentices in Scotland


Natasha Levanti, ACE Group Communications Executive celebrates the rising number of apprentices in Scotland which has reached a five-year high…

The Scottish Build Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC) as well as the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) have both released figures around the Scottish Apprenticeship Week (29 February – 4 March) that reveal an increase in the number of apprentices in Scotland for construction and building.

Also revealed by the SNP is the upcoming achievement of the new apprentice numbers promised in the 2007 manifesto, which further drive to ensure more apprenticeship positions are created in Scotland.

Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) has revealed that the number of Scottish apprentices registered in construction has reached a five year high, with 1876 apprentices hired during 2015. This 32% increase in the number of construction apprentices from 2011 (1422) is a positive sign for the continued drive towards increased apprenticeship opportunities from both the public and private sector. Given the February 2016 CITB prediction that Scotland will need over 21,000 new skilled workers — and the larger UK wide skills gap, with the required engineering estimate to be 1.82 million jobs over 10 years — the push for apprentices within construction is well-founded.

The Scottish Build Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC) subsequently released on 29 February that the number of building apprentices registered in Scotland has risen by 8% to a total of 1683 apprentices registered in building during 2015.

Compared to years past, the 2015 Scottish building apprenticeship registrations is 29 % higher than the number of registrations in 2012, which was 1299. However, within this it must be noted that 2012 marked a 15 year low for Scottish apprenticeships in the building industry, making it of vital importance that increased opportunities are continued to be seen. Scottish building apprentice registrations must increase by 39% in order to see registration numbers akin to 2007 – a peak year when 2,700 Scottish apprentices were registered within building. Again this solidifies the need for private and public efforts to increase the number of apprenticeships in Scotland.

The Scottish government is very much aware of the need to increase apprenticeship numbers in Scotland, taking the opportunity during Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016 (29 Feb – 4 March) to say that their 2007 manifesto apprenticeship targets are in close proximity, with the expectation that these will be reached shortly.

The SNP took office in 2007 under a manifesto that set forth a goal to deliver a total of 200,000 apprentice positions for Scotland, at a rate of approximately 25,000 positions per year.

This week the SNP has reported that 186,855 individuals have been able to secure a ‘modern apprenticeship (MA)’. With only 13,145 registrations to be secured prior to the 2007 Manifesto target, this positive progress for Scottish apprentices is to be celebrated during Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016. The widely used MA employment programme, partially funded by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), is intended to provide work-based learning for a variety of industries, including engineering, building and construction amongst others.

However, considering the hard hit apprenticeship numbers took during and after 2008, as well as the predicted skills gap for skilled workers, further efforts must be made.

As of yet, it appears that the Scottish government is highly aware of this, with the proposition that the goal set for apprenticeship registration be increased to 30,000 per year by 2021.

The government is also working to counter the misconceptions that apprenticeships are only for school leavers, which was revealed in recent survey from Scottish gas. To highlight that apprenticeships are worthwhile training programmes for all ages and assist not only in establishing a career but also in switching career focuses, as well as to reveal contributions apprentices make to Scotland, the Scottish minister for housing & welfare, Margaret Burgess MSP, helped launch the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ (SFHA) Apprentice Challenge on 29 February geared towards video diaries of apprenticeships. The winning video diaries from this competition fully expected to reveal benefits of apprenticeships will be shown at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations’ Conference in June.

It is only through efforts, big and small, of public and private stakeholders that the number of quality apprentices in Scotland will be raised to fulfil the skills gap, as well as overturn the misconceptions present, allowing Scotland and potential Scottish apprentices to fully benefit from apprenticeship opportunities.

The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), through the support of the Technician Apprenticeship Consortium (TAC), is highly cognisant that apprenticeships are a key tool for our industry to overcome the looming skills gap of 1.82 million skilled jobs over the next ten years across the UK, including Scotland. For Scottish Apprenticeship Week, as well as for National Apprenticeship Week (14-18 March) ACE and TAC will continue to highlight the benefits of apprentices for future progress.

Want to participate in highlighting apprentices? Contact mailto:consult@acenet.co.uk

Natasha Levanti

Group Communications Executive

Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE)

020 7222 6557





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