Posted in Features

Online tools before physical tools

Online tools before physical tools Posted on 19 July 2022

Tradespeople working in a house

Stephanie Koetsier learns how helps people and employers find one another. 

Many people may not know where to start when it comes to either becoming or hiring an apprentice. Luckily there are many resourceful tools out there to help make the process as easy and efficient as possible.

One such tool is the online portal of Skills Development Scotland (SDS) which aims to help both individuals and employers find one another. 

SDS is Scotland’s national skills agency that administers the funding of apprenticeships training and develops apprenticeships in partnership with industry to make sure they are fit for purpose and support skills demand for now and the future. When visiting the homepage, the user is immediately greeted with two sections, either ‘Apprentices’ or ‘Employers’. From there, you are offered a step-by-step guide through the process with a few prompted questions. 

For employers, one of the first questions asked is ‘What type of job do you have in mind?’, where you can select the industry you wish to offer an apprenticeship in. Once chosen, the site then offers you ‘Recommended Apprenticeship types’. So when selecting ‘Painter and Decorator’, for example, you are then recommended to offer a Modern Apprenticeship, with details of who the apprenticeship would be suitable for, the qualifications they’ll study and funding information.

The employer area of the website also has a matching tool to enable an employer to find a learning provider that will support them with the recruitment and training of the apprentice.

When an employer is ready to recruit, there is also an opportunity to advertise the vacancy free of charge on Information on how apprenticeships are funded is also available.

Learning providers are funded by SDS to deliver the training of the apprenticeships. Depending on the age of the apprentice and the type of apprenticeship – and based also on if they have a disability or care experience – the employer will receive a contribution towards the learning provision which is managed by the learning provider partner.

SDS also provides the Adopt an Apprentice scheme as an additional funding incentive for employers to take on an apprentice who has been made redundant through no fault of their own.

Employers may also get additional support for apprentice recruitment on a local level through the Employer Recruitment Incentives, which were set up by the Scottish Government as part of the Young Person’s Guarantee and managed by local authorities. Each local authority sets out the type of funding it supports for its own local economy.

For apprentices, information on what apprenticeships are, how they work and the types of apprenticeships available are provided before allowing you to then search for opportunities by town and industry. From there, you can search and apply for live vacancies posted on in a very straightforward application process.

The latest annual Modern Apprenticeship statistics show that within the Construction:Building framework there were 1,386 apprentice starts between 1 April 2020 and 31 March 2021, and 4,804 apprentices in training over the same period. SDS’s Skills Planning Manager for Construction Elaine Ellis said: “We work closely with construction industry bodies and stakeholders such as the Scottish Decorators’ Federation to support them as they recruit and train new entrants through apprenticeships.” 

The Scottish Government provides funding for Scottish apprenticeships and has committed to bringing apprenticeship numbers back up to pre-pandemic levels and then see how much further they can go. So, the time really is now if you were ever considering offering or taking up an apprenticeship.

In addition to apprenticeships, SDS has a fully funded National Transition Training Fund (NTTF) available for individuals in the construction sector who are looking for support to transition to net zero. 

The Transitioning at Pace to Net Zero and Climate Emergency Literacy projects both have bespoke construction elements, as well as a project in partnership with the Construction Scotland Innovation Centre. 

Whether you’re looking to hire or become an apprentice, the opportunities and support are out there waiting for you to discover.    

For more information, visit