Scottish apprenticeship starts continue downward trend

As Scottish Apprenticeship Week draws to close today (8 March 2024), new data from the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has revealed a continuing drop in new apprenticeship starts in Scotland

According to new analysis from the automotive industry’s professional body, the first quarter of the current academic year saw automotive apprenticeship starts in Scotland fall 3% year on year. With the sector continuing to face significant skills gaps and combined with the recent withdrawal of funding for apprenticeships by the Scottish government, this is a particular concern.

Key Scottish automotive apprenticeship data:

  • On average there are just under 1,000 automotive modern apprenticeships starts in Scotland.
  • Apprenticeships are falling 3% year on year.
  • Only 4% of apprenticeship starts in Scotland in the past three years have been female.

Hayley Pells, IMI policy lead, said: “Whilst our data is retrospective, we can’t ignore the fact that recent funding cuts in education and skills development in Scotland, including axing the Flexible Workforce Development Fund, are a concern​​. This fund’s elimination, coupled with broader budgetary decisions impacting education and employability, could indirectly affect apprenticeships by reducing the resources available for training and development programs.

“Moreover, cuts to the Scottish Funding Council and the implications for colleges and universities, points to a challenging environment for skills development and apprenticeships​​. These sectors are crucial for providing the training infrastructure necessary for apprenticeship programmes, and budget reductions here could potentially limit opportunities for new and existing apprentices,” she added.