Funding to strengthen the pipeline of talent moving into work in the rural economy has been announced by Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon.
Over £100,000 has been provided to Ringlink and its delivery partners to pilot the roll-out of pre-apprenticeships to support more young people to consider and prepare for careers in farming and land-based industries.
The pre-apprenticeship scheme gives participants an accredited vocational qualification at SCQF level 4 as a potential stepping stone to a full modern apprenticeship.
Announcing while visiting Ringlink’s Laurencekirk facility, Ms Gougeon said:
“We want to encourage more young people to consider work and careers in key rural sectors like farming, food production and land management. Equipping them with key skills and experience to help them stay and come to work in rural communities is massively important. Ensuring that we have a skilled, motivated and enthusiastic workforce in well-paid jobs will help sustain these key rural sectors too.
“Pre-apprenticeship programmes provide an ideal opportunity for young people to gain insight into the sector, develop the skills they and employers need, while gaining valuable work experience.
“Ringlink has already demonstrated how successful pre-apprenticeships can be and that is why I am delighted to confirm funding to enable roll-out of the initiative across Scotland.”
Graham Bruce, Managing Director, Ringlink Scotland Ltd said
“We are absolutely delighted and extremely grateful that the Scottish Government has recognised the need to invest in the future workforce of the rural industry by supporting this pilot pre-apprenticeship.
“The commitment shown will allow us, together with our partners, to deliver the programme across a significantly wider geographic area to the benefit of the industry and the wider rural community.
“We are confident that together, we can develop this pilot project into a nationally recognised programme providing the skills and resources required to fulfil the ongoing need for a competent rural workforce.”
The funding will cover an initial cohort of 37 starts in 2019/20, and be delivered by Ringlink, Skills Development Scotland, Lantra, Tarff Valley, Borders, and Highland Machinery Rings. The Scottish Government will work with the delivery partners to explore future expansion of the pilot from next year.