Jackie Baillie, Dumbarton and Lomond constituency MSP, has called on West Dunbartonshire Council and Argyll and Bute Council to do more to encourage women and girls into apprenticeships.
The call comes after figures show that the number of women and girls completing apprenticeships in both local authorities has fallen.
The figures, which were released via a parliamentary question, show that between the peak of 2013/14 and 2017/18 the number of female apprentices in West Dunbartonshire decreased from 226 to 172, and from 113 to 106 in Argyll and Bute.
The news comes as figures from the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre (SPICe) show that over the same period, the SNP government has cut council budgets by 7.5 per cent.
Jackie Baillie said:“These figures should be a cause for concern for the SNP Government. It is clear that cuts to council budgets are having an impact on their ability to support apprenticeships.
“At a time of austerity, it is crucial that we are taking every step possible to ensure that job opportunities are available, especially for women and girls. We must also consider how we tackle factors like the rising cost of living as some apprentices are simply unable to afford to finish their placement.
“I would urge West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute Councils to do everything they can to support apprentices and encourage more women to come forward. It would be helpful if they could also look at additional measures they can take to ensure that apprentices can complete their courses.”