Local MSP Joan McAlpine last week joined modern apprentices and employers at Minerva People to celebrate the sixth annual Modern Apprenticeship week.
Under the SNP Government the number of people undertaking Modern Apprenticeships (MAs) across Scotland has increased by 59.7% since 2007-08, with 25,000 places being offered annually.
In 2006-07, there were 415 MA starts in Dumfries and Galloway – this had increased to 707 by 2013/14.
The Scottish Governments’ youth employment strategy Developing the Young Workforce aims to reduce youth unemployment by 40% by 2021, with Modern Apprenticeships representing a vital component in this strategy.
Commenting, Joan McAlpine said:
“It was great to be able to celebrate Apprenticeship Week with young achievers.
“It also gave me the chance to acknowledge all the hard work put in by Tricia and the team at Minerva - the success of the Modern Apprenticeship programme is due in no small part to the hard work of training providers such as Minerva.”
A target of 26,000 new Modern Apprentices has been set for the year 2016-17, and is the next step towards the ambition of having 30,000 apprentices a year by 2020.
Ms McAlpine said:
“Modern Apprenticeships play a huge part in the SNP government’s work to address youth employment.
“Over the past four years, more than 101,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts have been supported – exceeding an ambitious target to deliver 25,000 MA opportunities in each year of the current Parliament.
“It is crucial that we continue to invest, not only in our young people by making sure that they have the right opportunities to learn and develop their skills and gain access to the labour market, but also to support industry and business right across Scotland.
“Modern Apprentices are key to delivering economic development and a strong economy.”
Pictured: - Joan with a group of Modern Apprentices who received certificates, their assessors who supported them and Tricia Hunter (far right)