For immediate release:


The number of new apprenticeships per year in Scotland has increased by almost 20,000 since 2008, and the Scottish Government are hoping to achieve 30,000 new starts by 2020.

The Scottish Government has substantially increased the number of new apprenticeships in Scotland from around 10,500 in 2008 to 28,000 in 2018-19.

Meanwhile, apprenticeship starts in England have fallen by almost a quarter in the past year, despite the UK government introducing a levy to support an increase in apprenticeships. In England, there were 369,700 apprenticeship starts reported between August 2017 and July 2018, compared to 491,300 reported in 2016/17 and 503,700 in 2015/16.

Closer to home, in the year 2017/2018, there were 1,850 Modern Apprenticeship starts in South Lanarkshire which was up around 120 from the previous year.

The Scottish Government is also calling on the UK Government to raise its National Living Wage to the level of the Real Living Wage and extend it to all workers over 18, including apprentices – something which the Chancellor failed to deliver in his Budget. The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £3.70 per hour – far below the independently assessed Living Wage of £9.

Commenting, Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey said:

“The UK government committed to an extra 3 million apprenticeship starts in England by 2020, but instead, the figure has fallen by a staggering 25 percent.

“In contrast, the Scottish Government’s action to increase the number of apprenticeships has been transformational.

“The Scottish Government has is committed to ensuring that young people are able to fulfil their potential in education, work or training – and since coming to power we have increased the number of new apprenticeships by almost 20,000. And we’ve set our sights even higher – to achieve 30,000 new starts by 2020.

“However, it is simply a disgrace that UK government legislation allows for apprentices to earn less than £4 an hour. Disappointingly, the Chancellor completely failed to end this disparity in the Budget.

“We need powers over the minimum wage in Scotland’s hands rather than in Philip Hammond’s, so we can take further action to deliver a fairer wage for apprentices and ensure that they have all the support they need to succeed.”



Information regarding apprenticeship starts in Scotland over the last ten years can be found here:

Information regarding apprenticeship starts in England can be found here:

Information regarding South Lanarkshire apprenticeships can be found on page 45:


Date published: 7th November 2018

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