THE number of people starting a modern apprenticeship has increased by more than 500 since the same period last year – as Scotland marks Apprenticeship Week.

Latest statistics show when compared with the end of Quarter 3 last year, there are now 529 more people enrolled in Modern Apprenticeships – a total of 18,774. The latest figures also show that there are more than 500 more disabled people, 500 more people from BAME backgrounds, and more women undertaking Modern Apprenticeships compared to last year.

The Scottish Government has increased the number of new apprenticeships from 10,500 in 2008 to 28,000 in 2018-19 – and is on track to achieve 30,000 new apprenticeship starts by 2020.

SNP MSP Gillian Martin said: “The Scottish Government’s action to increase the number of Modern Apprentices since 2007 has been transformational – and these figures prove the action is having a positive impact on women and minority groups.

“Not only are we seeing more people starting modern apprenticeships than last year, but we’re also seeing more women starting, more disabled people starting and more people from BAME backgrounds starting.

“And the Scottish Government remains on course to achieve its target of 30,000 new apprenticeship starts by 2020.

“The fact we have over 500 more Modern Apprenticeship starts than the same time last year is great news to kick off this year’s Apprenticeship Week.”

Skills Development Scotland found the number of Modern Apprenticeship starts in 2016/17 hit a record 26,262 – beating the 26,000 national target.

Financial adviser Grant Thornton UK LLP has said the study reveals a more positive perception of the traineeships.

Andrew Howie, managing partner in Scotland, said: “This changing attitude represents an evolution in the expectations of young people and parents when it comes to learning beyond school.

“Add in rising living costs and it becomes clear why those looking at higher education options are increasingly seeing apprenticeships and other earn as you learn routes, as a positive route in to a successful career. In our blueprint for the UK, Shaping a Vibrant Economy, we suggested that there is a need to incentivise collaboration between employers and education providers.

“This includes creating a new school performance measure for every pupil to have at least one interaction with an employer every year, and encouraging universities and business schools to offer graduate level apprenticeships.”

The report surveyed 1000 people aged between 16 and 25 as well as 1000 parents of under-18s. It found 70 per cent of young people and 79 per cent of parents think that apprenticeships offer good career prospects, with 42 per cent of young people believing they have the same value as a university degree.

Almost half of surveyed parents said they think a university degree delivers less value than it used to, while two thirds of young people said they think university is not necessary to get a well-paid job.

The report also investigated the attitudes of 500 UK employers and showed a similarly positive sentiment about hiring apprentices. Half of the employers surveyed plan to recruit more apprentices than they do now in the next five years.