Scottish Government response to the UK Government apprenticeship levy

Sets out how we plan to develop a distinctly Scottish approach to apprenticeships and wider skills development.

Future of Modern Apprenticeships

As set out in our Youth Employment Strategy: Developing the Young Workforce the Scottish Government is committed to growing, widening and enhancing Scotland's Modern Apprenticeship programme.

It the recent consultation we sought views on whether we should maintain or increase our commitment to delivery of 30,000 new Modern Apprenticeship opportunities each year by 2020.

In the responses to the consultation there was strong employer support for maintaining the target at its current level. As a result we have agreed to maintain this commitment, continuing to focus on higher level apprenticeships, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Frameworks.

To provide stability for employers and training providers we will not introduce any fundamental shift in the mechanisms for apprenticeship delivery in Scotland. In 2017/18 we will retain the current delivery model which allows a flexible approach to delivery by private and third sector training providers; colleges; industry groups and employers. Skills Development Scotland has begun the contracting for the delivery of places in 2017-18 as the next step in our expansion plans.

Advice for employers looking to offer Modern Apprenticeship opportunities will continue to be available on our dedicated Apprenticeship website at

There are however always improvements that can be made. In direct response to the views of employers, providers and wider partners across Scotland from April 2017 we will introduce a number of measures to ensure the programme better meets the needs of the Scottish economy. These include:

  • A new Rural Supplement of between £250 and £1,000 for training providers in recognition of the additional costs for delivering in rural areas;
  • The removal of public sector eligibility restrictions, meaning from April 2017, public sector employers will have the same access to Modern Apprenticeship funding as those in the private and third sector
  • An increase in the number of Modern Apprenticeships Frameworks that can be supported for apprentices aged over 25.
  • Enhanced contribution rates providing young disabled people and those with experience of care with the highest level of Modern Apprenticeship funding for their chosen Frameworks until the age of 30.

We will continue to support Skills Development Scotland to ensure that apprenticeship opportunities are open to all and to take forward the measures set out in the Equality Action Plan ( EAP) for Modern Apprenticeships, published in December 2015.

Businesses across the UK see National Occupation Standards as a valuable mechanism for ensuring that vocational and technical education, training and qualifications, equip the workforce with the skills business and the economy needs. Following the decision by the UK Government to move away from using National Occupational Standards and the closure of UK Commission for Employment and Skills, the Scottish and Welsh Governments and Northern Ireland Executive are individually and collectively committed to maintaining National Occupational Standards for the public good of learners, employers and users across the United Kingdom. We will continue to support Skills Development Scotland in 2017-18 to work with the 3 nations to help them deliver the long-term aspirations for National Occupational Standards to retain quality and transferability within our apprenticeship offers.

As we deliver our apprenticeship offer next year we will continue to reflect on the impact that the Apprenticeship Levy is having on Scotland, working with the industry led Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board and wider partners to ensure this continues to support our ambitions through our Youth Employment, Labour Market, and Scottish Economic Strategies.


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