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Scottish Chambers of Commerce have issued an open letter to each of the SNP Leadership candidates urging them to Back Scotland’s Apprentices.

Released during Scottish Apprenticeship Week, the letter outlines three key asks of the candidates vying to become the next First Minister which we believe are essential in fully unlocking Scotland’s potential through apprenticeships.

Will the new leader address the longstanding, underfunding of apprenticeships in Scotland and meet the growing demand from employers to support more apprenticeship opportunities?

Will the new leader commit to redressing the parity of esteem and systemic bias against apprenticeships in Scottish education?

As an immediate response to Scotland’s skills crisis, will the new leader commit to meeting demand and expanding the volume of new start graduate apprentice opportunities?

Commenting on the Open Letter shared with each of the SNP Leadership candidates, Dr Liz Cameron CBE, Director & Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Recent years have been the most difficult and challenging most employers and businesses will have ever faced. Even during the depths of the pandemic, those employers who could, continued to invest in young people through apprenticeships.

“While economic shocks have continued to hit businesses through the cost-of-living crisis, inflation and fuel price rises, apprenticeship numbers are moving back towards pre-pandemic levels.

“Apprenticeships are a tried and tested way to meet skills shortages now and, in the future so they must be a key component of our shared national mission to meet economic ambitions. The business community expects the next First Minister to back Scotland’s apprentices and each of our propositions which we believe are vital to fully unlocking Scotland’s economic potential.”