Thursday, 10 February 2011

Small change, big difference

With youth unemployment at 17.9% and demand for Modern Apprenticeships outstripping supply (BT recently had approximately 24,000 applications for 221 Modern Apprenticeships), it is essential that public resources are effectively increasing the number of Modern Apprenticeships available.

Experience has proved that long-term youth unemployment severely damages the life chances of thousands of young people and undermines the social fabric of our society. Youth unemployment has long-term and enduring social consequences for our society.

The STUC believes that direct public investment in youth job creation and enhanced training and learning opportunities for young people is essential to tackle the scourge of youth unemployment.

Evidence confirms that ‘Modern Apprenticeships’ are a powerful method of providing Scotland’s young people with high-quality training which leads to industry recognised qualifications and meaningful employment. Public procurement can be a powerful tool in tackling youth unemployment by ensuring that contractors provide training through Modern Apprenticeships that will equip young people with the skills to good long term employment.

Catherine McKinnell, Newcastle North MP, has introduced the ‘Small Change, Big Difference’ Bill at Westminster. This Bill aims to ensure that public procurement processes are utilised to create more Modern Apprenticeship jobs within the private sector. The Bill receives its second reading on Friday, 11th February.

Catherine McKinnell has also submitted an Early Day Motion at Westminster on ‘Apprenticeships and Skills Training’, which has been signed by 87 MPs so far, 17 of which are Scottish MPs. It supports the assertion that public procurement processes can and should have a positive impact on the employment prospects of those seeking to undertake a Modern Apprenticeship.

Increasing opportunities for Modern Apprenticeship jobs is an essential part of the work of many trade unionists, and it is vital that we continue to build on this.

A section of the Scottish Union Learning website has been developed to provide further information on Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland.  This can be accessed at
Tommy Breslin- Scottish Union Learning

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