To mark Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Scottish Conservative Leader Ruth Davidson visited Lothian Buses to help them remove a wheel nut from one of the fleet’s greenest buses.

This is an annual focus on the way that apprenticeships work for businesses and the economy, as well as being good for the apprentices themselves.

Ms Davidson went to the bus company’s Annandale Street depot in her own constituency to meet some apprentices. She said: “Lothian Buses runs an outstanding apprenticeship programme and I was hugely impressed with the young people I met at the depot today.

“They were enthusiastic, informed and even helped me have a shot myself – they are a real credit to the company.

“Apprenticeships are an important route into work for young people who are able to earn while they learn valuable skills.

“One of the most impressive aspects of the Lothian buses visit was seeing how the company supports the over-25s through their apprenticeship programme, at their own expense.

“This is an area where we see real opportunities for growth and to help those who have lost employment, left the armed forces or are seeking a career change.

“Right now there is limited Scottish Government funding to help and we believe expanding the apprenticeship programme to include the over-25’s would benefit countless individuals as well as upskill the Scottish workforce.”

Over the last decade the bus company has trained 80 apprentices, many of whom have stayed with the company, and five rising to the rank of supervisor.

Jim Armstrong, Engineering Director, said: “Our approach to apprentice training focuses on the key objective of future proofing our business. We understand the importance and value of helping develop technical skills amongst our young people to ensure that they go on to have successful careers.

“Over the last ten years, Lothian Buses has trained over 80 apprentices and retained over 31 young apprentices and 24 mature apprentices. Of them, I’m delighted to say, five have progressed their careers and are now in supervisory roles within the engineering department.

“We are committed to the success of our Apprenticeships and look forward to welcoming a further ten apprentices later this year.”