In direct response to the pandemic, firms taking on an apprentice will now have increased support from the government and Skills Development Scotland

A range of measures aimed at helping employers and apprentices during the current pandemic have been announced by the Scottish Government.

The new Apprenticeship Employer Grant is part of the Young Person’s Guarantee and aims to encourage more employers to take on a new Modern or Graduate Apprentice or upskill an existing staff member through an apprenticeship.

The funding includes £5,000 for employers taking on or upskilling a 16 to 24-year-old through an apprenticeship, and for those aged up to 29 years who have a disability, are care experienced or are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background. There is £3,500 for employers taking on or upskilling an individual aged 25 and over through an apprenticeship.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon 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 we will invest £15m 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.”

Chair of Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Frank Mitchell, said: “The 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.”

Further support for young people is also available through new Pathway Apprenticeships, providing an opportunity to train and get qualifications in sectors with long-term prospects. Available for school leavers up to 18 years old who might be facing more limited options due to the impact Covid-19, about 1,200 opportunities will be available to young people in the first phase of the initiative.

Pathway Apprenticeships are available in areas including construction, business skills, software and hardware IT, engineering, and early years, and have been developed by SDS in support of the Young Person’s Guarantee.

Frank Mitchell added: “We know young people will be disproportionately affected by the economic impact of the pandemic.  

“Pathway Apprenticeships 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.”

Construction is one of seven sectors supported in the first phase of Pathway Apprenticeships.

Jim Brown, Director of the Energy Skills Partnership, is part of the Construction Scotland Modern Apprenticeship Taskforce. He said: “Not only will the Pathway Apprenticeships provide the best opportunity to move into a Modern Apprenticeship with up to three months counting towards progress, participants will receive industry-devised training at one of the three colleges supporting construction – South Lanarkshire, City of Glasgow and Dundee and Angus – a training allowance and a travel allowance.” 

Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of the Construction Industry training Board added: “Our recent Construction Skills Network report highlights the importance of protecting talent and investing in skills in the coming year, which is why we’re really pleased to be able to support in the delivery of this fantastic initiative.” 

Pathway Apprenticeships will offer training for unemployed or economically inactive young people up to 26 weeks of training, with a £100 weekly allowance.  

In addition to both of these measures, apprentices who have been made redundant will also be able to get help to achieve their qualifications, recognition for their learning and assistance to take the next step in their careers through a new service.

The Apprentice Transition Plan will see more support for apprentices made redundant to help them get qualified, providing a statement of their achievement recognising prior learning and an action plan for their next steps.

The service will be delivered by either the apprentice’s learning provider or a designated third-party provider. Those benefiting from the support will receive one-to-one guidance to help them achieve their qualification and move on through further learning or employment. The support through the Apprentice Transition Plan service will help to ensure that talent developed through apprenticeships is not lost as a result of Covid-19.

Karen Murray, Head of Work-Based Learning Quality Delivery at SDS, said: “It’s vital that apprentices affected by the pandemic are given support to help them achieve their qualification and progress on to a positive destination, whether that is on to further learning or into a new job.

“The support through the Apprentice Transition Plan service will help to ensure that talent developed through apprenticeships is not lost as a result of Covid-19, ensuring individuals have support to complete their apprenticeship.”

Part of the service will include creation of a Record of Achievement that documents an individual’s skills, training and qualifications to date. The Record of Achievement aims to support job applications and will outline an apprentice’s capabilities benchmarked against a national SCQF standard, to help employers make informed recruitment decisions.

  • Further information on the Apprenticeship Employer Grant, Pathway Apprenticeships and the Apprentice Transition Plan will be available at