Liz Cameron: Apprenticeships key for recovery

Scotland’s economic recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is now firmly underway.

Business confidence is rising, sales are improving and employers are once again looking to expand their workforce. Despite the period of prolonged economic uncertainty businesses are now primed and ready to once again be the driving force leading Scotland’s success, unlocking our economic potential and helping to build an economy comprised of secure, sustainable and satisfying jobs.

As businesses get back on their feet there are new post-pandemic challenges coming down the line, linked to the emerging skills shortages, talent gaps and lack of labour supply which are appearing across all sectors of Scotland’s workforce.

Many businesses welcomed the Scottish Government’s recently announced £68.3m of additional investment in employability and training to help tackle the labour market imbalances which will help businesses recruit the skills and talent they need to fuel their recovery and return to growth.

To support Scotland’s economic renewal the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network is proudly working in partnership with Skills Development Scotland and backing Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2022, which runs from March 7-11, to highlight the value of Scottish Apprenticeships.

I’ve been a long-standing ambassador for apprenticeships due to the benefits they provide to both individuals and businesses. And I’ve seen apprenticeships open doors for people into new and exciting careers.

Businesses recognise that apprenticeships are a tried and tested way to develop the workforce and this year’s theme is Apprenticeships Work with the aim of demonstrating how apprenticeships are providing the skills employers and employees need now and for the future.

Apprenticeships provide a win-win situation for both businesses and employees.

Developed in partnership with employers, apprenticeships continue to adapt and be responsive to the needs of industry, which is increasingly important as Scotland’s economy adjusts to living and working alongside the Covid-19 virus and to support Scotland’s transition to net zero whilst businesses move away from carbon intensive industries into greener alternatives.

More than 12,000 Scottish employers support around 43,000 Scottish apprenticeships, giving thousands of individuals opportunities to fulfil their dreams, their aspirations and enjoy satisfaction in success, whilst getting paid and gaining national qualifications.

The SCC Network supports the Scottish Government’s commitment to increase the number of apprenticeships in Scotland as businesses consistently tell us that offering and developing new creative apprenticeship programmes provides them with a route to economic success. By developing Scotland’s workforce, businesses can grow and thrive.

Rebalancing Scotland’s education and training model is going to be crucial to securing economic recovery and apprenticeships which directly align investment with industry demand are going to have a significant role to play.

The SCC Network is actively connecting employers with Scotland’s young people through the delivery of the Young Person’s Guarantee and Developing the Young Workforce, offering a complete package of support for younger people affected by the pandemic. For businesses, providing apprenticeships is an ideal opportunity, giving the next generation the experience of working in great jobs and companies, helping them build their knowledge through world class training.

Business leadership in the development of Scotland’s workforce benefits us all. That’s why SCC are putting the call out to businesses to please get on board now and sign up to support Foundation, Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship partnerships.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week is a time to show that apprenticeships work and highlight the positive impact they have.

Visit to find out more and get involved.

Liz Cameron is chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce

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