With a Scottish government Minister’s backing, SNIPEF, the Scotland and Northern Ireland Plumbing Employers’ Federation, is urging businesses to seize the opportunities offered by the Scottish Government’s Adopt an Apprentice scheme.

The programme, which has now been extended until March 25, offers a grant of £5,000 to replacement employers who take on modern apprentices and graduate apprentices who have been made redundant.

The scheme is intended to support the redundant candidate by allowing them to continue their apprenticeship and to work towards their qualification. The grant is designed to cover, among other things, wage costs, skills development, and/or mentoring and, for the Plumbing and Heating Apprenticeship, is being managed by SNIPEF Training Services Limited on behalf of Skills Development Scotland.

Since the pandemic began, SNIPEF has been made aware of 32 redundant apprentices and has been able to assist with the re-employment of 25 of them by actively using its member network to help find new employers.

Dale Thomson, Training Manager for SNIPEF, said: “Many apprentices work hard in their training, with enthusiasm, commitment and dedication, and it is very distressing to see their career potential cut off by circumstances out of their control.

“This financial incentive for employers, which will help many of these apprentices to fulfil their life’s ambition, is very opportune and very welcome, and we would urge all employers to look into it to see if they can help apprentices at the same time as adding valuable skills to their workforce.

“SNIPEF has been collecting information about apprentices who have been affected and who are looking for a new employer and this information will be available to companies wishing to take advantage of the grants.”

Responding to representations made by SNIPEF, Jamie Hepburn MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills, said: “The protection of new and existing apprentices remains an absolute priority for the Scottish Government and I would like to express my thanks to SNIPEF for its continued support of Scotland’s Apprenticeships during this unprecedented time.”