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New figures show rise in Scottish construction apprentices

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The number of Scottish construction apprentices increased by 8% in 2015 compared to the year before, according to new figures.

The Scottish Building Apprenticeship and Training Council (SBATC), which is responsible for registering construction apprentices throughout Scotland, revealed that 1,683 apprentices registered last year.

The figure for 2015 is a 29% increase from the number of apprentices in 2012, when numbers reached a 15-year low of 1,299.

Despite last year’s rise in apprentices, the numbers are 39% below the peak of more than 2,700 registrants in 2007.

SBATC chairman Gavin Hay said: “As we look forward to celebrating Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016, it’s encouraging to see a further rise in the number of building apprentices registered by SBATC last year. The industry is continuing to witness a steady recovery in apprenticeship numbers following the severe impact of the recession on apprentice recruitment between 2007 and 2012.”

Despite the positive figures, Vaughan Hart, managing director of the Scottish Building Federation and employers’ secretary on the SBATC Council, has raised concerns over the impact of the UK Government’s new apprenticeship levy.

Hart said: “Building employers have real concerns that the additional funds raised through the imposition of the new levy will not be reinvested back into the industry.

“We remain firmly of the view that the introduction of this new levy cannot be allowed to damage the industry’s unrivalled track record of delivery on high quality, skilled apprenticeships in large numbers.”

Apprenticeships in numbers:

  • Number of apprentices undertaking the Traditional Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Level 3 (Traditional Craft Trades): 1,198
  • Number of technician apprentices: 114
  • Number of apprentices undertaking the Construction Specialist SVQ Level 2: 371

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