Scottish government frees up £15m in aid for apprentice hires by bakers

By Gill Hyslop contact

- Last updated on GMT

The Scottish government is determined to 'help this generation who have been caught so cruelly in the eye of the COVID-19 storm'. Pic: GettyImages/SeventyFour
The Scottish government is determined to 'help this generation who have been caught so cruelly in the eye of the COVID-19 storm'. Pic: GettyImages/SeventyFour

Related tags: Scottish Bakers, Skills Development Scotland, Bakers, Apprenticeship

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has confirmed that Scottish bakers who take on an apprentice will be entitled to increased financial support.

The new Apprenticeship Employer Grant offers further financial support to employers who take on a Modern or Graduate Apprentice. The grant – which is part of the Scottish government’s Young Person’s Guarantee – aims to encourage more national bakers to give everyone aged 16-24 the opportunity of work, education or training.

“This pandemic has hit us hard – especially our young people who are facing fewer opportunities. We must help this generation who have been caught so cruelly in the eye of the COVID-19 storm,”​ said First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon MSP.

"To do that, we’ve established the £60 million Young Person’s Guarantee. It aims to give everyone aged 16-24 the opportunity of work, education or training.

"As part of that, we will invest £15 million to help more employers take on an apprentice.

“Businesses want to give young people opportunities, but for many the impact of the pandemic will make the costs hard to meet. So, we’ll pay employers up to £5,000 for every new Modern Apprentice they take on.”

The criteria of the grant includes:   

  • £5,000 for employers taking on or upskilling a 16-to-24-year-old through an apprenticeship;
  • £5,000 for employers hiring an apprentice aged up to 29 years who have a disability, are care experienced or are from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background.  
  • £3,500 for employers taking on or upskilling an individual aged 25 and over through an apprenticeship.

Chair of Skills Development Scotland Frank Mitchell said, “Scottish Government’s support underlines the commitment to apprenticeships and their crucial role in economic recovery.

“Additional funding for employers to recruit apprentices means sustaining vital opportunities for people to work, learn and earn, while ensuring businesses have the critical skills they need.”

Welcome move

Sottish Bakers – which has been the voice of Scotland's bakery trade for over 125 years – has hailed the move.

According to the association’s CEO Alasdair Smith, the financial boost will go a long way towards helping bakers realise their growth ambitions by investing in the right skills.

“This is additional investment in much needed skills development is a welcome measure that will be an important part of efforts to stimulate our economy as we recover from the COVI-19 pandemic,"​ said Smith.

“Scottish Bakers represents small traders right the way up to international bakery-based food manufacturing businesses, and every year National Food & Drink Training (NFDT), our specialist training arm, recruits well over 400 apprentices onto a range of bespoke apprenticeship programmes with above average completion rates.

“Our role in the food and drink sector in Scotland is vital with bakeries having such a strong presence on our High Streets, employing around 12,000 people and delivering revenue of around £1.3 billion.”

NFDT – created in 2015 – delivers in traditional Craft Bakery; and Food Production and Supervisory Skills in bakeries, as well as other manufacturing sectors, including the whisky, soft drinks, seafood and dairy industries.

The application process for the Apprenticeship Employer Grant will open in January 2021, but registration for new NFDT learners is now open.

NFDT courses are designed to help the F&B industry become more competitive and sustainable by developing the skills and knowledge of its workforce. It employs a team of training advisors to support training delivery in Scotland, England and Northern Ireland, including an online food and drink training academy.

Related topics: Bread, Cakes & Pastries, Markets, COVID-19

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