Tavish Scott MSP discussed how to encourage local apprenticeships in construction with members of the industry, along with SDS, HIE and Shetland College.
Tavish Scott commented after the meeting:
''Overall, the construction industry is not currently attracting enough school leavers into the industry through CITB apprenticeships. There are currently 17 CITB apprentice vacancies with only two school leavers starting courses confirmed in Shetland. Local businesses need to recruit new staff as others leave or retire. The workload across Shetland continues despite the lack of capital spend by Shetland Island council, with the exception of the new Anderson High School.''
Tavish Scott added that schools should place greater emphasis on vocational eduction:
''Firstly, a taster day where approximately 60 S2 pupils (14 year olds) leant about skills, jobs and the industry. This has in the past led to 24 / 60 pupils becoming Shetland College trained apprentices through the vocational pathway programme. Secondly the "speed dating" type of event run this year at Brae HS for S3/4, where employers could pitch their business and pupils could question them. Again this has proved successful in raising the profile of construction and encouraging pupils to look at an apprenticeship.''
''Attracting school leavers also needs Pupil Support teachers (guidance) to signpost apprenticeships. The industry needs to meet these key staff and make the case to them. Government policy has been to push pupils to stay at school for S5 & S6. However Sir Ian Wood's Developing Scotland's Young Workforce strategy recognises that S4 (16) is the right time to leave school for many subject to vocational options being available.''
Tavish Scott also urged that vocational routes into work should be regarded as equally valuable as a university education.