15th August 2019

North Highland College UHI and Developing the Young Workforce North Highland (DYW) initiative, led by Caithness Chamber of Commerce, have signed a partnership agreement to formalise their new initiative, The Apprenticeship Hub.

The initiative aims to create a collaborative approach between North Highland College UHI and Developing the Young Workforce North Highland to support growth in the apprenticeship family to benefit the Caithness and Sutherland economy.

Principal of North Highland College UHI, Donald MacBeath, said: “The College has played an active role in the Developing the Young Workforce North Highland since its inception. The strength of the partnership working between college staff and local employers is already evident in the year-on-year growth in the number and range of apprenticeship opportunities we provide, with over 150 apprentices currently enrolled with us in disciplines such as Engineering, Care, Business, Hospitality, Gamekeeping and Hairdressing. I look forward to seeing further new and exciting apprenticeship opportunities being developed and promoted through the new Apprenticeship Hub.”

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The agreement was signed at the North Highland College UHI open evening and exam results drop in session at the Thurso Campus. Lecturers and student services teams were on hand offering advice and guidance to school leavers, those returning to education, employers and young people looking for information on modern apprenticeships.

The new initiative, supported and welcomed by Mr Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Skills and Fair Work said: “I was pleased to hear about the successful open evening at North Highland College and the important partnership between themselves and Developing the Young Workforce North Highland. The new apprenticeship hub will provide vital advice and support to young people in this region, helping them to understand their available options and allowing them to pursue the right path for them.“

Jamie continued, “Developing the Young Workforce is Scotland’s youth employment strategy, with the main aim being to reduce youth unemployment levels by 40% by 2021. I’m delighted to say this target was achieved – four years ahead of schedule. Going forward we are committed to strengthening partnerships across the country to sustain and build on this progress.”

The partners in the Hub will work together to coordinate and grow Work Based Learning pathways, engaging with employers to help simplify the apprenticeship offer and demonstrate a return on their investment in the skills system.

Caithness Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Trudy Morris said: “Two of the key objectives for the DYW initiative are to boost employment and work experience opportunities in the region, and to strengthen partnerships between businesses and education providers.

“Ensuring that employers throughout the North Highlands have a clear understanding of the benefits offered by the apprenticeship family and engaging with them to increase the uptake of apprenticeships of all types is key to meeting these goals and to ensuring that young people throughout the region have access to the employment and skills development opportunities they need.”

North Highland College UHI is one of thirteen academic partners of the University in the Highlands and Islands providing college and university courses across the north Highlands region.

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