THE SCOTTISH Tories have unveiled their blueprint for a “skills revolution” in a bid to prevent young Scots becoming a “lost generation” during the pandemic.

The party’s leader, Douglas Ross, has set out his plans – with a focus on apprenticeships to create new jobs.

Business group CBI Scotland has called for “demand-led” apprenticeships to form part of economic recovery plans.

In response, Mr Ross has set out proposals for “unlimited” demand-led apprenticeships – available based on employers'’ needs rather than targets set by the SNP.

Earlier this week, the Herald revealed that the SNP has admitted it will fail to hit its targets for the number of apprenticeships due to the pandemic.

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The Scottish Conservatives have also pledged to ensure more women become apprentices, with a significant improvement on the current female share of 38%.

Under the plans, the UK apprenticeship levy would be fully spent on what it’s for rather than the current SNP approach of using it for wider skills initiatives.

The Scottish Conservatives would expand funding for graduate apprenticeships and the choice and availability of one or two-year foundation apprenticeships for S5 and S6 pupils.

The party would also remove the £15,0000 support cap and guarantee ‘off the job’ training for those aged under the age of 25.

Mr Ross said: “Scotland faces a looming jobs crisis and we must focus on recovery and rebuilding – not the reckless referendum that the SNP wan to hold as soon as possible.

“Our young people deserve every opportunity to prosper and thrive. They cannot become Covid’s ‘lost generation’.

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“Our ambitious plans would make apprenticeships unlimited, and responsive to the needs of businesses, rather than restricted by government targets.”

He added: “Apprenticeships are more important than ever, and our proposals are creative and detailed.

"We would expand funding for graduate apprenticeship and foundation apprenticeships for S5 and S6 pupils.

“As well as removing the £15,000 government support cap, we would guarantee that apprentices receive ‘off the job’ training and ensure more women can access apprenticeships.

“We have already announced our retrain to rebuild proposal to give £500 grants per year to every single worker in Scotland.

“If we focus on recovery instead of a referendum, we can deliver a skills revolution as we emerge from the pandemic.”