Mr Dey met with young people undertaking Foundation Apprenticeships at the College, which have been developed to help young people gain valuable, real-world work experience and access work-based learning while they are still at school.
Whether someone wants to go on to college or university, undertake a further apprenticeship or go straight into work, a Foundation Apprenticeship can help. Linked to key sectors of the Scottish economy, the qualifications take one or two years to complete alongside National 5s and Highers – adding up to an industry-recognised qualification.
One of D&A College’s Early Education and Childcare students, Katie Phinn, has been shortlisted for the Foundation Apprentice of the year award. A cochlear implant user, she says she is proud to have been able to act as a role model for deaf primary school pupils while supporting their learning through her apprenticeship.
Scottish Apprenticeships Week, led annually by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), ran with the theme of ‘Unlocking Potential’.
Alongside Foundation Apprenticeships, Modern Apprenticeships combine paid employment with work-based training and lead to industry-recognised vocational qualifications.
Mr Dey said: “I am always keen to support this occasion, as these programmes – both Foundation and Modern Apprenticeships – are so valuable to both the young people and to key sectors of the local and national economy that will benefit from their skills.
“They are creating sustainable jobs across Scotland for people from all backgrounds and abilities – I would encourage all employers to find out more. The SNP in government recognises the role apprenticeships play in unlocking the potential of individuals and of our country.”
Frank Mitchell, SDS chairperson, said: “Apprenticeships not only help the economy but also create sustainable jobs. These opportunities have been taken by individuals from across society, including many young people traditionally with restricted opportunities to progress who have gone on to flourish in the workplace.”
“These are real jobs backed by employers who contribute £10 for every £1 spent by government, and at the same time apprentices contribute by paying their taxes.
“Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce through work-based learning is benefiting employers as apprentices enable them to adapt and sustain their business.”
At the end of last year, there were almost 40,000 Modern Apprentices training in Scotland, and more than 22,000 young people have been offered workplace opportunities through the Young Person’s Guarantee. The Scottish Government invested up to £45 million in the Guarantee in 2022-23, and over 800 employers have signed up to the initiative to connect 16-24-year-olds with an apprenticeship, work experience, volunteering, internships, enterprise opportunities and mentoring.