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Mountain calls for creation of demand-led apprenticeships to address depopulation crisis in the Highlands

By Louise Glen

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Edward Mountain.
Edward Mountain.

Edward Mountain, the Scottish Conservative candidate for Inverness and Nairn, has welcomed the Scottish Conservatives plans for a “skills revolution”, which includes increasing apprenticeships.

The post-pandemic rebuilding plan includes unlimited demand-led apprenticeships, which is a key request of Confederation of British Industry (CBI) Scotland.

These would be available based on employers’ needs, rather than rigid SNP targets.

Edward Mountain not only believes more apprenticeships will boost the economic recovery of the Highlands but ensure young people have more reason to stay in the Highlands rather than leaving the area due to a lack of opportunities.

The Scottish Conservatives would also expand funding for graduate apprenticeships and the choice and availability of one or two-year foundation apprenticeships for S5 and S6 pupils.

They would also remove the £15,000 support cap and guarantee "off the job" training for those aged under 25.

Mr Mountain said: “Creating more apprenticeships for young people in the Highlands is one of my key election pledges.

“Therefore, I am delighted by the Scottish Conservatives plans to make apprenticeships unlimited and responsive to the needs of businesses, rather than restricted by government targets.

“I am also pleased to see that we have plans to expand funding for graduate apprenticeships and foundation apprenticeships for S5 and S6 pupils.

“Creating these opportunities is not only key for the Highland economic recovery but also for reversing the depopulation crisis in our region.

“We must ensure that more of our young people have career opportunities available to them in the Highlands and, therefore, have reason to stay rather than relocating elsewhere for work."

He added: "If re-elected I will continue to stand up for our young people across the Highlands and to ensure they are not left behind as we emerge from the pandemic.”

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