Concern over apprenticeship rates in Shetland

Councillors on Shetland have voiced their concerns over a shortfall in the number of local young people taking up apprenticeships. According to the latest figures,  a total of 49 new start modern apprentices had been recruited to local businesses by Train Shetland during 2015/16.

That number is too low, according to head of development Neil Grant, who told a meeting of education and families committee. That was despite the best efforts of the Shetland Learning Partnership.

“There are not enough young people willing to take up modern apprentice places,” Grant told the assembled guests.


‘Satisfaction rates still high’

There was some good news, however: satisfaction and achievement among the apprentices that do take a course are both running at high levels. According to official figures, Shetland is the second highest performing local authority area in Scotland, with its success rate reaching 83%. Contrasted with the national average of 77%, the signs are encouraging.

But local councillors took the opportunity to bemoan the numbers of new apprentices. Tommy Coutts from the local development team said there had been instances demand although there was a limited recruitment pool.

“We do, on occasions, get demand for more specific, professional-focused apprenticeships and we do deliver on them where we can. We work closely with schools to promote apprenticeships,” he added. Earlier this week Train Shetland announced it had the funding for 50 local apprenticeships, while earlier in the year, Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon committed to funding 5,000 new high skilled apprentices in Scotland