Thursday, 3 February 2011

Unions contributing to the development of the Modern Apprenticeship Project

Scottish Union Learning has launched a Modern Apprenticeship Project aimed at increasing union capacity within Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship programme. Modern Apprenticeships can offer positive access to employment for young people and the opportunity for mature workers to change or re-engage in their chosen career path.

Unemployment for those aged 18-24 years old was 17.9% for Scotland in the three month period Sep-Nov 2010, which is a problem of deep concern to trade unions.  Modern Apprenticeships are clearly a positive method in helping to tackle the issue because they can provide a rare opportunity for young people to earn while learning new skills.  They also provide the employee with an industry recognised qualification combined with on-the-job experience.

Trade union engagement with this programme is essential.  There are a number of workplaces in which unions are involved with the development and running of the Modern Apprenticeship programme. We believe these workplaces to be better paid with better completion rates.  There is also high progression from a Modern Apprenticeship post to permanent employment.

Increasingly, unions are driving at encouraging employers to start up Modern Apprenticeship programmes with guaranteed jobs on successful completion. This is not only good for the employees, the employers and the unions, but it is also good for Scottish society.  We cannot afford to fail successive generations of young workers.

Whatever the outcome of the Scottish elections in May, it’s clear that Modern Apprenticeships will still be an important tool in tackling increasing youth unemployment.

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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