Skills Development Scotland has welcomed the recommendations of an ambitious new report which aims to ease the pathway into apprenticeships for care experienced young Scots

The steps needed to help more care experienced young people access apprenticeships have been laid out in a new report. Published by the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board’s (SAAB) Employer Equalities Group (EEQ), the report offers four recommendations to the Scottish Government for systemic change to raise the numbers of care experienced young people getting into and achieving apprenticeships.

Tony Scally is National Lead for Employability Service Development at Action for Children, a member of the EEQ, and Chair of the short-life working group who researched and wrote the report.
He said: “Apprenticeships are an attractive option for young people with care experience, offering a wage while gaining qualifications. But the current support landscape is cluttered, over-complicated and bureaucratic. It means young people are stuck in a system that instead of helping them on, actively holds them back.

“Our recommendations offer a clear way forward for the Scottish Government to improve not only apprenticeship uptake for care experienced young people, but retention and completion levels too.”
The report recommends expanding the Care Experienced Students Bursary in Scotland to care experienced young people undertaking an apprenticeship and lobbying the UK government to adjust apprenticeship wages for care experienced individuals. It also suggests calling for changes to Department for Work & Pensions policy to offer greater support for care experienced young people starting work, especially those living in supported accommodation, and “bending the spend” – taking action to prevent incurring costs in the future by putting in place measures to spend public finances more efficiently, saving the public purse in the long term.

The report also lays out a series of shorter-term actions that can be taken by employers, SAAB, local authorities and Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the national skills agency, to begin improvements while systemic change is ongoing. 
Included in actions for employers is to embed more flexible recruitment practices, and to partner up with national providers to offer crucial out-of-work mentoring support. 
A commitment to driving inclusion and equality in the workplace has been a priority for Diageo, and this has included the work the global spirits and beers producer does to build its apprenticeship programme.

Its employability programmes Learning for Life and Career Ready offer mentoring from employees to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to help them with the transition from education into the workplace. 
Gillian Dalziel, CSR Programme Manager – Learning for Life, said: “Our target for Learning for Life this year is to support 1100 people across the UK from disadvantaged backgrounds into sustainable employment in our hospitality industry with a focus on half being female. 

“At Diageo we are committed to creating the most inclusive and diverse culture we can, as well as shaping market-leading policies and practices because it is both the right thing to do and helps our business to grow. This is core to our purpose of ‘celebrating life every day, everywhere’.”
SDS, which administers Scottish Apprenticeships on behalf of Scottish Government, is being asked to report on support for care experienced Modern and Graduate Apprentices via contracts, as well as to seek additional funding to cover expenses associated with starting work, such as work wear or tools.
Head of Equality and Diversity at SDS, Fergus McMillan said: “As a corporate parent, SDS welcomes this report and its recommendations. We want to be confident that we are doing everything possible to ensure that care experienced young people are able to benefit from entering and succeeding in apprenticeships in the same way as their wider peer group. 

“We are considering the recommendations and in particular the role that mentoring plays in supporting young people to enter and sustain an apprenticeship.”
Among actions for local authorities is a call to offer continued, supported accommodation for apprentices based on income rather than employment status as well as to improve communication, including offering a named person for employers and young people to contact.
SAAB or any new employer board has also been given a series of actions, including building an evidence case for an increase in the minimum wage for apprentices, to research the positive impact of mentoring and work with local and national government to make the systemic change needed.
Tony added: “What is laid out in this report is a way forward, an opportunity, to make lasting, significant change to the lives of care experienced young people across Scotland. 

“We can’t keep piling responsibility onto employers and asking them to find new ways to help. A new approach should see governments provide the financial support and guidance which make it happen.  Working together to make these changes will benefit not only young people, but business and the economy as a whole.”

The Herald:

Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2024

Schools, employers, learning providers, local authorities and apprentices across the country are set to host events during Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2024, which takes place from 4 to 8 March.
Co-ordinated by national skills agency, Skills Development Scotland (SDS), the campaign provides a platform for supporters to showcase the benefits of apprenticeships to individuals, employers and the economy.

This year’s campaign theme is Skills Generation, to highlight that Scottish Apprenticeships create the skills every generation needs, and every employer wants. 
Throughout the week there will be a range of events and activities locally and online to drive awareness of apprenticeships to school pupils. 
Website has thousands of jobs every month and information about apprenticeships.

The site also features a section with campaign resources and event information to help schools highlight apprenticeships during the Week and beyond.
Every day, schools will be able to access up to four inspirational online talks from apprentices through the DYW Live website, delivered by a partnership between Education Scotland, e-Sgoil, Founders4Schools and SDS.
All secondary schools are also invited to attend the National Apprenticeship Show on the 5 and 6 March. This free event at the SEC in Glasgow will allow learners to meet a range of apprentice employers to find out about their available opportunities and find out more about Scottish Apprenticeships and how to take one.

The organiser offers a travel bursary scheme for students in S3, S4, S5 and S6 from schools and colleges on a first-come, first-served basis. There is also a session on the Tuesday afternoon for parents, carers and individuals.
There will also be a range of activities for pupils taking place in schools across the country, arranged by SDS Careers Advisers, Developing the Young Workforce co-ordinators and teachers.
A number of events will be on to support parents and carers during the Week too, recognising that they are major influencers in young people’s career decisions.
A one-hour webinar on Wednesday, 6 March at 6.30pm will share information on Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships and feature parents of apprentices sharing why an apprenticeship has been life-changing for their child.  

Apprenticeships resources and events have also been developed to support teachers, who are career influencers themselves.  Included will be the Understanding Scotland’s Apprentices webinar on Tuesday, 5 March at 4pm to share insights SDS has gathered on the experiences and views of thousands of Scotland’s current and former apprentices.
The event aims to help inform all those who support, advise and guide young people on career decisions. Employers will also get the chance to find out more about apprenticeships during the Week, including an event delivered by Scottish Chambers of Commerce and SDS in association with Scottish Training Federation and Federation of Small Businesses Scotland.
The partnership event will share latest apprentice insight and feature interviews with apprentice employers. The SDS employer services team will also be running a series of one hour sessions on labour market intelligence, inclusive recruitment, the Just Transition to Net Zero and the development programme of Scottish Apprenticeships.

Keep up to date with the range of activities and events posted to support Scottish Apprenticeship Week by visiting the campaign events calendar on