Apprenticeship boost

Increased work-based learning opportunities across the country.

More than 3,500 new work-based learning opportunities will help boost Scotland’s economy and give young people a head-start in their careers.

In 2018, the Scottish Government’s national skills agency, Skills Development Scotland (SDS), will support the delivery of 2,600 Foundation Apprenticeships for young people at school.

Funding will also be made available through the Scottish budget to create almost 900 Graduate Apprenticeship opportunities within the expansion of the Modern Apprenticeship programme. Employability and Training Minister, Jamie Hepburn, announced in Parliament that in total, 28,000 new Modern Apprenticeship starts will be delivered in the coming year.

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“This Government has substantially increased the number of new apprenticeships in Scotland from around 10,500 in 2008 to 28,000 in 2018-19 and we remain on track to achieve 30,000 new apprenticeship starts by 2020.

“As well as growing the Modern Apprenticeship programme, we are committed to enhancing and widening our apprenticeship offering, ensuring that more people than ever before can benefit from work-based learning. The expansion of Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships is key to delivering this vision, as is the additional support we’re offering to rural areas, and key sectors.”

SDS Chief Executive Damien Yeates said work-based learning and apprenticeships are vital for Scotland’s future prosperity.

He said: “Scotland has great ambitions to increase productivity and generate inclusive growth, all against the backdrop of an ageing population, rapid technological change and real pressure on public spending.

“This means finding new and innovative ways, such as Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships, to match the skills people develop with the ones employers need.

“Apprenticeships are a vital piece of the jigsaw to improve Scotland’s productivity, which will benefit individuals, employers and the wider economy.”

Paul Campbell, Head of Learning and Organisational Development at Scottish Water, said:

“Scottish Water uses a broad range of apprenticeship programmes which have a high currency in our business.

“Many of our leaders have themselves been former apprentices, and there is a great deal of value placed on the development of our apprentices so that they fully understand the nature of our business, have the technical skills to perform safely and effectively, and understand the vital role that Scottish Water plays within our communities and society. 

“SDS’s full family of apprenticeships give more flexibility and choice than ever before, providing pathways to enter into skills development at different points and at different stages of life.”

Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships are funded by the Scottish Government, and developed by SDS, in partnership with employers, universities and colleges with support from the European Social Fund.

Foundation Apprenticeships are for school pupils to take alongside qualifications such as Highers, while Graduate Apprenticeships allow individuals to get qualified up to Master’s level whilst in employment.



Scottish Government announced at least 28,000 new apprentices will be trained next year, with increased support for rural areas and key sectors.

  • Foundation Apprenticeships are for pupils in 5th or 6th year and typically take place over two years alongside other subjects such as Highers.
  • Pupils get real work experience outside of the classroom, at a college or learning provider and with employers.
  • Foundation Apprenticeships will available in 12 subject areas in 13 college regions and across 32 Local Authorities in 2018.
  • SDS is working with18 lead bidders for a total of 2600 Foundation Apprenticeship starts in 2018.
  • Foundation Apprenticeships were introduced for the first time in 2016 with 346 starts.
  • In 2017 Scottish Government announced a target of up to 5000 Foundation Apprenticeships by the end of 2019.
  • 887 Graduate Apprenticeships will be available in 2018.
  • Graduate Apprenticeships provide employees with work-based learning up to Master’s level.
  • Graduate Apprenticeships will be available in 11 different types at 12 different universities or colleges in 2018 – more information at


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