FOLLOWING my recent visit to East Lothian’s enjoyleisure during Scotland’s Apprentice Week, I was pleased to raise a question to Parliament querying the current steps being taken to promote apprenticeship schemes.

Apprenticeships are a valuable asset, since they provide young people with the opportunity to learn important skills. It is my hope the efforts made by Skills Development Scotland to promote such schemes will result in an increase in apprenticeship opportunities.

The demands of the job market are changing. In their Programme for Government 2016-17, the Scottish Government committed to align support to help people into employment with the needs of employers. To accomplish this, the Individual Learning Accounts have been refocused into Individual Training Accounts (ITAs). ITAs will continue to give people access to up to £200 per year for training and skills development, while each course will now result in an industry-recognised qualification. Applications for ITA funding will be available from October.

Overcrowding has been a large issue with Scotland’s trains and Transport Scotland knows it. In an effort to improve the experience of passengers, they have published a list of the busiest trains in the country and provided information on the measures being taken to alleviate crowding. We will have the opportunity to witness the application of these measures when the promised longer trains come to East Lothian this December. Change is happening, and I will continue to press for improvements to the railway until these problems are thoroughly resolved.

Congratulations to all of the newly elected Members of the Scottish Youth Parliament. What an incredible opportunity it will be for you to experience the ins and outs of Scotland’s political system. A special congratulation goes to Megan Kay and Lara Adams Carmena, who were elected to the Midlothian North and Musselburgh seat.