David Stewart MSP

MSP’s hopes to host summit on apprenticeship completion problem

4 January 2011

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP David Stewart is trying to organise a summit which would hopefully solve the problem of apprentices failing to finish their training if their employers go out of business.

Mr Stewart wants to host a meeting of Skills Development Scotland, Jobcentre Plus, local authorities and
business representatives, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and local colleges to discuss how apprentices finding themselves out of work can complete learning the skills which can drive the economic recovery in the coming years.
His proposal comes following a series of blows to the region’s construction industry this year, first with the collapse of HQC and then Rok, resulting in the loss of several hundred local jobs.
The Government’s Adopt an Apprentice Scheme – where employers are be paid up to £2,000 to recruit a redundant apprentice and enable them to finish their apprenticeship – has been operating since June last year.
In addition employers in the construction, manufacturing and engineering sectors can also Safeguard an Apprentice. This initiative offers employers £75 per week wage subsidy to retain a current apprentice where the company is experiencing difficulties as a result of the economic downturn.
However Mr Stewart, while recognising that the two schemes have helped some apprentices to reach their qualifications, believes that more could be done.
He has tabled written parliamentary Questions asking about the take-up and effectiveness of the Adopt an Apprentice scheme.
Mr Stewart said: “I think everyone is aware of the problems facing the construction industry in Scotland and I am concerned that as a result of that some apprentices may not be completing their training.
“While I acknowledge that there are schemes around which have helped some people it is extremely difficult for others to access them.
“Clearly there is a pressing need for a solution which would enable apprentices in this position to reach completion and I believe that a way forward may be found in terms of a multi agency approach involving Skills Development Scotland, Highlands and islands Enterprise and local colleges.
“I propose to hold a summit of all interested parties to see how we can ensure these bright young men and women, who are such a valuable commodity to our economy, can complete their training.”

Skills Development Scotland and North Highland College officials have said they would be willing to attend the summit.

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Written by davidstewart

January 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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