Membership organisation Scottish Bakers which supports the bakery trade throughout Scotland and is a major provider of apprenticeships to Scotland’s food and drink manufacturing industry, has written to the government to express dismay at the delay in confirming funding for new apprenticeships starts.
“Scottish Bakers received early confirmation of 481 places for registration during 2023/24. We worked hard, accordingly, with employers across the baking and wider food and drink sector to identify 85 new starts at this time of writing (45 due to commence in April with 40 to commence in May),” said Alasdair Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Scottish Bakers. “Because of the inexcusable delay in confirmation of funding we are unable to move on these learners: this is bad for them, it is bad for business, and it has a potentially devastating impact on our operations as a training provider.”
In December 2022, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) released a statement in response to concerns about funding modern apprenticeship training. “There is no freeze on funding for starts, and new apprenticeships continue to be registered,” it wrote, adding that it would add 25,000 new apprenticeship starts this financial year.
“Businesses across the food and drink sector have endured one of the toughest trading years in memory last year with soaring energy and commodity costs. The volume of learners put forward to commence training reflects an improving level of confidence which will quickly dissipate if we must delay registration,” Alasdair added. “Furthermore, we are deeply concerned that this delay will also be used as an excuse to cut our contract volume for the year. We would be unable to withstand such an impact on our businesses finances and would have to evaluate our staffing requirement.
“Without action, our ability to preserve and pass on valuable craft and production skills will be compromised and countless business and apprentices will lose out. We therefore urge the Government to confirm funding without delay to help support our economy.”
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