Labour must apologise for Modern Apprentice attack

SNP MSP Jamie Hepburn says Labour must apologise for its staggering ignorance on the Modern Apprentice scheme after it attacked the skills programme that has supported 35,000 aged 16 to 19 into employment since 2009.

The MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth said:

“Labour clearly does not understand, or chooses to ignore, that the scheme is run in the same way as when it was last in office – which shows they are either totally confused or totally hypocritical.

“This attack misrepresents the fantastic work the Modern Apprenticeships scheme does for our young people, with all of our apprentices in employment.

“At a time when politicians must unite to help tackle unemployment – particularly amongst the 16 to 24 age group – Labour is instead attacking a scheme that is upskilling people for the future.

“This really is astonishing. Labour must retract these lies and apologise for attacking one of Scotland’s most successful programmes.

“While Labour launches an ignorant assault on the scheme, the SNP Government works hard to bolster life chances for our young people by investing £72million to support more than 26,427 MA starts last year.

“But if Labour had been in power, Scotland would have lost apprentice places as the party’s MSPs voted against this in the budget.

“In 2001/12 our £69million was nearly double the £35million invested by the Labour party when it was last in government, while we have doubled the 55,288 apprentices in 2006/07 to 112,501 in 2010/11.

“As this investment demonstrates, the SNP is committed to enabling our young people to have the best start in life and we have supported 35,000 aged 16 to 19 into and within the labour market since 2009.

“This simply highlights the fact Labour cannot be trusted with this successful skills programme – not only does its MSPs vote against funding, the MSPs also either fail to comprehend the way the scheme works or don’t bother to understand it.”