A target for 26,000 modern apprenticeships for 2016/17 has been set by the Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Fair Work Roseanna Cunningham.
The target was outlined in a speech at an SCDI Skills summit in Dundee and is the next step in working towards the ambition of creating 30,000 Scottish apprenticeships a year by 2020.
Scottish Apprenticeship Week runs from 29 February to 4 March which is organised by Skills Development Scotland to promote the benefits apprenticeships bring to businesses, individuals and the economy.
Read comments from Roseanna Cunningham and the Chairman of Skills Development Scotland
Over 115,000 homes and businesses across the Highlands and Islands have received a superfast broadband boost and work is to begin over the next six months to add to the growing number of locations benefitting from the Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project.
Areas now able to see the benefits for the first time are Symbister in Shetland, Scourie in north west Sutherland, Benbecular on the Outer Hebrides and many parts of Skye.
To benefit for the faster connection speeds when they are available residents need to sign up for a fibre service with their chosen provider, as upgrades are not automatic. This can be found out here.
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SMEs in Scotland will benefit from greater help with plans to expand the Scottish Investment Bank.
The move follows the Scottish Government Programme for Government commitment to create a Business Development Bank to address the gaps in the market for finance for SMEs and will see a £21.5m allocation of funding made available in Financial Transactions funds.
Scottish Enterprise have been asked to prepare a plan for creating the Business Development Bank services by expanding the remit of the Scottish Investment Bank and will report back on this before the end of the Parliamentary session in March.
Europe’s first national target to cut food waste by a third and a renewed commitment to producer responsibility provide centrepiece of wide ranging new strategy dubbed ‘Making Things Last’.
Making Things Last identifies four main areas where circular economy models can be embraced: food and drink and the wider bio-economy, remanufacturing, construction and the built environment and energy infrastructure.
Under the proposed plans the government will provide further support to a remanufacturing sector that is already worth £1.1bn a year to the Scottish economy, tipped to grow by a further £620m a year by 2020. Planning to introduce initiatives to encourage more efficient use of construction materials and exploit considerable opportunities in the energy industry to reuse equipment from wind turbines and decommissioned oil and gas platforms.
The report argues that the target would save Scottish consumers £500m a year by 2025 and there were compelling financial reasons for businesses to embrace circular economy models.
Growing significantly over the past eight years, Scottish SME exports are now worth £12.4bn to the Scottish economy, a 59% rise since 2006.
Analysis by the Fraser of Allander Institute shows that the EU accounts for around 46% of Scottish international exports.
The UK Trade and Investment roadshow delivered in partnership with the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise ‘Exporting is GREAT’ will be at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre today (2nd March). Also stopping at Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh over the course of this week.
The roadshow will offer businesses expert exporting advice through talks, workshops and one-to-one coaching.
Glasgow and Edinburgh city centre hotels saw a promising start to the year with demand growing by 21% compared to 2015, according to the monthly LJ Forecaster Scottish Intercity Report.
Demand for accommodation was highest in Glasgow, which received 64.8% room occupancy during the month. But room rates in the capital increased by 5.9%, with the average room rate in Edinburgh rising to £77.17.
Sean Morgan, managing director at LJ Research, said: “A continuation of positive performance for Glasgow and Edinburgh hoteliers in January following a strong finish to 2015 highlights a good degree of stability within Scotland’s two largest destinations.
“Looking to the future, a steady stream of business and leisure events is continuing to drive up demand in Glasgow and, in doing so, helping to fill more weekday and weekend hotel rooms.”