Members’ Corner – Extra support secured for 2023-24 apprenticeships after more “intense lobbying” from SELECT

SELECT, EuropeOn member from Scotland, is celebrating another training boost for the industry after it was confirmed that the next intake of electrical apprentices and adult trainees will again be financially supported.

Along with the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT), Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB), and Unite the Union, SELECT had been lobbying for additional places after initial fears that there would be another shortfall in funding for new learners signing up for 2023-24.

However, it has now been confirmed that all 926 places on next year’s intake have been awarded – the second time this year that additional resources have been allocated after campaigning by the bodies.

Alan Wilson, Managing Director of SELECT, said: “This welcome development has followed a period of intense lobbying from SECTT, the SJIB, SELECT and Unite the Union and is a great result for us all, particularly after we secured similar additional resources for the 2022-23 intake earlier this year.

“Such a result again demonstrates the value of everyone connected to the industry working together for a common cause and we are grateful to the Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) for listening to our case and  acting accordingly.”

Anne Galbraith, CEO of SECTT, said: “We are delighted to have been informed that employer demand has been recognised and an expanded roster of apprentice and adult trainee places for 2023-24 will be available.

“We’d previously been issued a contract for only 576 places but after significant discussions, we were delighted to be awarded a further 350, taking us to 926. This will allow us to meet employer demand and maximise the spaces within our approved centres.”

Fiona Harper, The Secretary of the SJIB, added: “This second guarantee of additional places means we can continue to train and develop a significant number of skilled electricians which will help keep the industry in line with key government policies and priority areas.

“Electricians will play a significant role in supporting the Scottish Government to reach its targets for net zero, and it’s vital that we continue to train the talent of tomorrow.”

SECTT, the SJIB, SELECT and Unite helped secure additional funding for the 2022-23 intake of electrical apprentices and adult trainees in March this year after making an urgent appeal to the then Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

After initially saying it had no more funding, SDS agreed to meet the cost of an outstanding 87 apprentice and 68 adult trainee places for 2022-23.

The appeal came after SDS announced a cap on additional apprentice places in October 2022, shortly after SECTT had confirmed a record intake of 960 learners for 2022/23 – some 300 over its contracted number.