An Aberdeen-based training specialist is urging employers to adopt an apprentice after a number of young learners were made redundant from a deck machinery company.
ITCA Training wants businesses in the area to consider taking on one of the apprentices and give them a chance to complete their qualifications.
The move comes after 10 apprentices – all aged between 17 and 20 – lost their jobs at Ace Winches, near Turriff.
Nine of them were working as apprentice engineers and the other as a fabricator/welder.
Ace had previously warned that up to 30 staff were at risk of redundancy, including six apprentices.
It said the move was part of a further programme of cost reduction in the wake of the “severity” of the oil and gas downturn, particularly in the North Sea.
Last year, 17 apprentices were made redundant after Aberdeen-based offshore fabrication company Enterprise Engineering Services went into administration.
ITCA, which operates from offices in Kirkhill Industrial Estate, Dyce, hopes a £5,000 incentive from the Scottish Government will encourage employers to recognise the benefits of training young talent.
The incentive is part of the Adopt an Apprentice scheme, which aims to get redundant apprentices back into work as quickly as possible.
Figures from Skills Development Scotland in 2016 showed the north-east as having the most redundancies among apprentices in Scotland, while new starts in Aberdeen city and shire were down by 40% and 14% year-on-year.
ITCA managing director June Jones said yesterday it was “very alarming” that yet another business was shedding a large number of apprentices who had still to complete their training.
She added: “The figures indicating the high percentage of apprenticeship redundancies in the north-east, as well as the drop in the number of new starts, are extremely concerning.
“If this carries on much longer, then it will result in a skills gap and a severe shortage of skilled workers in the future.
“We appreciate that the market is incredibly tough at the moment, but it is the responsibility of businesses to employ and grow their own talent.
“We hope that employers will come forward to claim the £5,000 incentive by taking on an apprentice.
“By doing so, they will enable a young learner to complete their apprenticeship and help to safeguard the future of home-grown talent in the north-east.”