Growth in apprenticeship numbers in Scotland could be at danger unless the Scottish Government commits to ring-fencing the new UK-wide Apprenticeship Levy for training, says the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Scotland.
Responding to figures published by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Gordon Nelson, Director of FMB Scotland, said: “Although the increase in apprenticeship numbers is welcome, the quality and employment outcomes of apprenticeships should take precedent.
“Equally there is now a fear that this good work could soon be undone if the Scottish Government doesn’t commit to re-investing funds raised by the new UK-wide Apprenticeship Levy. There is a leadership vacuum in terms of demonstrating how the Apprenticeship Levy will be implemented in Scotland.
“It’s crucial that we get this right as the Scottish construction industry is already in the midst of a skills crisis – the FMB’s latest State of Trade Survey showed that nearly half of SME employers are struggling to recruit carpenters, and that more than one in three are finding it difficult to source plumbers. These kinds of shortages could have a potentially disastrous effect on the nation’s key housing and infrastructure objectives.
“The only way to ensure that Scotland keeps building is by developing more home-grown talent, and to achieve this, the construction industry needs the Government to prioritise quality apprenticeships and the upskilling of existing workers.”