Two thousand new Microsoft apprentices

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International IT leader Microsoft has announced its ambition to recruit more than 2,000 new apprentices in Scotland over the next three years.

The announcement – 2016 new apprentices by 2016 – was made by the company’s UK Managing Director Michel Van der Bel during a meeting with First Minister Alex Salmond and two Microsoft apprentices.

Between now and 2016, Microsoft will work with its 1500 partner network in Scotland to recruit 2,016 young people aged 16-24 as Modern Apprentices (MAs). The extra 2,016 IT Professional Apprentices within Microsoft’s partner community will see the company approximately doubling its current annual apprentice intake in Scotland.

The announcement comes days after research published by Skills Development Scotland demonstrated that 92 per cent of those who completed their Modern Apprenticeships were still in work six months later and the overwhelming majority – 87 per cent – were satisfied with the training they had received.

First Minister Alex Salmond said:

“This is a terrific announcement, both for the thousands of individual young people who will be given a fantastic career opportunity and for Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship programme.

“Over the next three years Microsoft and its partner companies will recruit 2016 young people, give them real jobs and train them so that they are equipped with the skills and expertise to work in the IT industry.

“Microsoft is supporting investment in Scottish skills and in its own future in Scotland. Recruiting 2,016 apprentices by 2016 represents a huge endorsement of Scotland’s young people from a company with operations in dozens of countries.”

Microsoft UK Managing Director Michel Van der Bel said:

“The digital technologies industry employs over 100,000 people in Scotland and is expanding fast. At Microsoft we want to help ensure there are skilled people coming into the workplace to secure the future for the sector.

“That’s why we are announcing our commitment to create 2016 apprenticeships in Scotland by 2016, by partnering with the Scottish Government and our training providers, QA and YouTrain.

“These are real jobs for young people in a vibrant, growing and exciting industry, which will help bring economic and employment opportunities.

“This commitment is part of our broader Get On programme which aims to help 300,000 young people across the UK take meaningful steps towards work over the next three years.“

Youth Employment Minister Angela Constance added:

“Microsoft’s ambition to recruit two thousand Modern Apprentices is another sign of the enormous value of the apprenticeship scheme, to companies and individuals.

“Research out just this week showed 92 per cent of MAs are still in work six months after graduating – showing the value of the qualification for longer term employment and improved job prospects.

“The value of an MA is clear and we are especially keen to encourage more young women into areas like science, technology and engineering. Last year the First Minister announced £250,000 of funding to establish CareerWISE – Women in Science and Engineering – and IT apprentices like these are exactly the kind of future we want young women to aspire to.

“The Scottish Government is committed to at least 25,000 MAs in each year of this Parliament and has guaranteed a place in training or education for every 16 to 19-year-old through Opportunities for All. The partnership of companies like Microsoft is key to this work which will support more young people into jobs.”

Young people aged 16 to 19 seeking a place in training or education can now benefit from telephone support on 0800 917 8000. The helpline, run by Skills Development Scotland, offers expert, locally-focused advice on the places available in their area to ensure they benefit from Opportunities for All.