Skills for the Future

Scottish Apprenticeship Week provides an opportunity to recognise and promote the contribution of Modern Apprentices (MAs) to the economy.

That’s why this year’s theme is “Skills for the Future”. It’s a simple but powerful message for employers – invest now to enjoy the benefits in the years to come.

Apprenticeships give individuals, principally young people, an opportunity to develop their skills and employability potential through training and work-based experience. That blend makes them an attractive proposition and more people are starting apprenticeships than ever before. 27,145 MAs were created in the latest accounting period in Scotland. That’s well on course for the Scottish Government’s goal of 30,000 per year by 2020.

With more applicants each year, the diversity of apprentices increases accordingly. That’s of particular interest to us at Concept Northern, Scotland’s leading assistive-technology supplier. Last year 11.3% of new MAs self-reported an impairment, health condition or learning difficulty. That presents employers and training providers with a challenge – how to adapt training and work experience for an audience who may require specialist support, advice or workplace adjustments.

Concept Northern are experts in supporting young people in training and employment who may face additional challenges. This could be dyslexia, autism, mobility problems, visual impairment or hearing loss. Our advisors can assess an individual’s needs and circumstances and provide a road map for subsequent training, equipment provision and support. Through funding streams such as Access to Work, we can then implement those recommendations, often at little or no cost to the employer.

Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, has confirmed that he will be attending some of over 100 events across Scotland organised to promote Scottish Apprenticeship Week, now in its ninth year. He is a big proponent of MAs and recently reiterated in a blog post that fairness is integral to Scotland’s policy on promoting skills and growth (

A fair approach for apprentices with a learning challenge is to give them the specialist assistance they need. It’s a great first step for the individual and ultimately the wider economy.

If you would like further information on how Concept Northern can help Modern Apprentices, contact Barbara Borthwick on 01355 573173 or by email to