Scottish Apprenticeship Week has been marked in Falkirk, as a local MSP visited a skills centre to meet with apprentices and employers.
Michelle Thomson, SNP MSP for Falkirk East, headed to the Skills & Business Centre of Forth Ports, one of the UK’s largest port operators.
Currently the employer of 16 Modern and Graduate apprentices, Forth Ports has eight commercial ports in the UK, six of which of located on the Firth of Forth.
The week is hoped to shine a light on the role apprenticeships play in Scotland and how they affect people, businesses and the economy.
Over 12,000 employers in Scotland provide apprenticeships, with that number said to be on the rise, according to Skills Development Scotland.
They also say over 18,600 Modern Apprenticeships starts had been recorded by the final quarter of 2021/22, a statistic that has nearly doubled compared to the same time last year.
Ms Thomson, who took in a climate change presentation from some apprentices, said: “Apprenticeships are crucial in modernising Scotland’s workforce. Our young people have the ability and talent to really take Scotland forward, and I am pleased to be able to visit Forth Ports and speak to some of their apprentices.”
“We know that young people prefer to have options available to them. Apprenticeships work for our young people, they bring a huge advantage to our economy and will ultimately help in our recovery from the pandemic.”
The business offers its apprentices a blended learning style as they earn money, with simulators and virtual reality being used to give practical insight, while also getting hands-on experience to develop their skills.
Specialisms such as engineering, procurement and finance can be completed during the course of the the apprenticeships, which last for either two or four years.
Current apprentices are local to the area, predominately Grangemouth or Falkirk, and are set to be joined by a 2022 intake as part of the company’s plans for growth.
Calum Green, an electrical engineering apprentice at Forth Ports, said: “I feel Apprenticeships work as they combine various areas of learning from theory while at college to the practical application of this theory while within the place of work.”
Skills Development Scotland Chair Frank Mitchell added: “When it comes to supporting sustainable skills through workforce development or providing opportunities for young people, we know that apprenticeships work.
“The combination of commitment from employers and the backing of Scottish Government will ensure apprenticeships work for everyone, making a significant contribution to Scotland’s recovery and productivity growth.”