15 July 2015

Stevenson Hails 75% Increase in North-East Apprentices Since 2007

Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has hailed figures released today showing the number of people on Modern Apprenticeships in the Aberdeenshire council area has grown by over 75 per cent since the SNP came to office in 2007. Mr Stevenson is repeating calls made by Scottish MPs in Westminster for powers over the minimum wage to be devolved to Scotland to allow action on fair pay for apprentices.

An analysis of figures from Skills Development Scotland shows the number of Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland overall has risen from 15,803 in 2007/08 to 25,247 in 2014/15 – an increase of 59.7 per cent. The SNP in government has exceeded its target of 25,000 Modern Apprenticeships a year every year since 2011/12 – and has increased the target to 30,000 a year by 2020.

The current minimum wage for apprentices is £2.73 per hour - while under plans put forward by the SNP at the General Election, the rate would have risen to £6.86 by 2020.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson MSP said:

“These very welcome figures for the North-east highlight a key success of the SNP in government – with the number of Modern Apprenticeships rising by almost 60 per cent since 2007/08 and more young people being given an opportunity to get into work, learn a skill and secure a better future.

“Apprenticeships are a key part of the SNP in government’s successful youth employment strategy – and the Scottish Government has exceeded its target of 25,000 Modern Apprenticeships a year every year since 2011/12. This target is set to increase to 30,000 by 2020.

“However, it is simply wrong that due to the discriminatory regulations of the UK Government, many apprentices could find themselves earning less than £3 per hour.

“It’s absolutely vital that we can continue to attract more young people into the Modern Apprentice programme – and that they aren’t put off by the disincentive of low pay. That’s why it is absolutely vital that powers to tackle low pay are devolved to Scotland.

“The SNP’s record in supporting and empowering our young people is second to none – and with powers over the minimum wage in Scotland’s hands rather than in George Osborne’s we can take further action to deliver a fairer wage for apprentices and ensure that they have all the support they need to succeed.”

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