Fife Council champions modern apprentices at national conference

Councillor Lesley Laird

Cllr Lesley Laird to take to the podium as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 

The depute leader of Fife Council is set to deliver a talk on the local authority’s work in ‘Supporting the Stars of the Future’ at the Future of Apprenticeships in Scotland conference in Edinburgh this week (Wednesday, 8 March).
Cllr Lesley Laird will showcase how the Council is growing talent and shaping Scotland’s future workforce during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which runs from 6 – 10 March.
Fife Council says it was invited to present after earning a reputation for its highly successful apprenticeship, enterprise and employability programmes which offer the region’s young people opportunities to develop and grow.

Cllr Laird’s speech will examine the needs of young people and businesses today, identify barriers to employment, look at the importance of skills development and celebrate success.

She said: “Modern apprenticeships (MAs) are essential to developing the next generation of Scotland’s workforce. By combining on-the-job training with a qualification, MAs play a key role in helping employers develop their workforce, train new staff, and upskill current employees.
“However, we need to recognise that there is always more than one route to equip and skill young people to make them ‘work ready’ and able to offer businesses the skills and workforce that they need now, and in the future. We are fully committed to providing young people with the right education, training and experience to get into fulfilling jobs and careers as they progress.
“In Fife, we recognise the crucial role that schools play in preparing pupils for employment. Over the last few years we’ve introduced a range of employability and entrepreneurship programmes into our schools to create wider opportunities, develop a vibrant enterprise culture, produce motivated, work-ready pupils and promote social mobility.
“Our work in early years tells us that the earlier we intervene, the better the outcome for the young person will be – waiting till high school is too late. Staff in Fife are focused on getting it right for every child so that there are better outcomes for our young people and, ultimately, better outcomes for society.”
Fife’s employability team and education service work together to ensure that young people have access to a range of high quality work-based learning opportunities to enhance learning and prepare them for work.
Fife Council has recently, in partnership with Fife College, invested in the new Foundation Apprenticeship model, to ensure that a pre-apprenticeship programme can be undertaken while young people are still in school.
Cllr Laird added: “Foundation Apprenticeships offer workplace based learning, an alternative pathway to a Modern Apprenticeship and ensure that young people have a higher level of vocational preparation when leaving school. This partnership is set to expand the range of Foundation Apprenticeships available, and widen the locations that these are available in Fife.
“Supporting all our young people into positive destinations and getting more Fifers into work remains a top priority for Fife Council. I would also like to thank key partners, including Fife College and the business community for supporting pupils across the region so that they are well-prepared to meet the needs of local, national and international employers.”
 As part of ongoing partnerships, Fife is embracing the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) initiative, the national strategy for enhancing links between businesses and education to support young people into rewarding jobs.
This initiative, led by the private sector, not only enhances the employability and entrepreneurial skills of young people, it also helps business by developing their own future workforce and continuing to grow the Fife economy.
Other speakers at ‘The Future of Apprenticeships in Scotland’ conference include the Minister for Employability and Training who will present on changes to apprenticeship funding.

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