3 Free Bus Travel for Modern Apprentices

3 Free Bus Travel for Modern Apprentices

Proposal at a glance

The Scottish Government is proposing free bus travel for young Modern Apprentices and we have suggested this might be targeted at those under age 21.  The introduction of free bus travel will make Modern Apprenticeships more accessible for all young people. We believe this will make the Modern Apprenticeship route more attractive to young people and potentially to employers.

Question 4 in Annex B seeks views on offering free bus travel to Modern Apprentices, on whether this should be targeted on those Modern Apprentices aged under 21 and on alternative ways to help Modern Apprentices with transport costs.

3.1 In September 2016 the First Minister announced in the Programme for Government the commitment to work to deliver free bus travel for Modern Apprentices aged under 21.

3.2 Modern Apprenticeships are recognised as an excellent way to gain skills, experience and a qualification while in employment.  They allow individuals to earn while they learn and support the development of our collective skills base and in doing so contribute to economic development. 

3.3 The Scottish Government is committed to growing, widening and enhancing Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship programme as part of its commitment to the delivery of 30,000 new Modern Apprenticeship opportunities each year by 2020. This commitment includes continuing to focus on higher level apprenticeships, particularly in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Frameworks. This expansion is likely to be focused on young people. 

3.4 In 2016-17 there were 26,262 Modern Apprenticeship starts. On 5 March this year we set a target of 27,000 new Modern Apprenticeship starts for 2017-18.

3.5 However, in order to make the Modern Apprenticeship an attractive option for young people looking to enter the world of work, we must ensure we do what we can to make available support where it is needed.  The commitment to free bus travel for young Modern Apprentices is part of this. 

3.6 We recognise that the transition into the workplace can be a real challenge and can place unforeseen expenses on what are likely to be limited budgets.  The pledge of free bus travel is designed to take at least one of those worries away from the young apprentice looking to improve their skills.  But we must ensure that what we offer is what is needed by young Modern Apprentices. 

3.7 Question 4 in Annex B seeks your views on the proposal to provide free bus travel to Modern Apprentices. It also invites views on the proposition that the offer should be restricted to those Modern Apprentices aged under 21 and on whether there might be better options for helping with Modern Apprentices’ travel costs.