Early years apprentices

Increases to fuel roll-out of funded childcare.

A record number of early years apprenticeships are expected to start this year as part of the expansion of free nursery and childcare, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said.

The Scottish Government is almost doubling funded childcare from 600 to 1,140 hours by 2020, backed by £243 million in the 2018-19 draft budget alone.

The number of early learning and childcare modern apprenticeships has already increased by 22% over the past five years. That figure is set to rise even further following a £1,000 increase in the contribution offered to employers – with Edinburgh City Council already planning to treble its apprenticeships from 30 to 90 this year.

In addition, the number of foundation apprenticeships, which gives young people work experience while still at school, are expected to more than double to more than 700.

Visiting the Cowgate Nursery in Edinburgh, Mr Swinney said:

“I want to give every child in Scotland the best start in life, regardless of their background, and our expansion of free early learning and childcare will do just that.

“As well as transforming the choices and chances of children, this policy will save families thousands of pounds in fees every year and further benefit the wider economy through the creation of thousands of new jobs.

“This government is investing an extra £54.3 million this year alone to expand and upskill the early learning and childcare workforce, including through increasing the number of apprenticeships and our national recruitment campaign.”


The number of Modern Apprenticeships in early learning and childcare (ELC) increased in uptake by 22.7% from 1,141 in 2012/13 to 1,400 in 2016/17. The Scottish Government is increasing the number of Modern Apprenticeships in the ELC sector by 10% year on year up to 2020.

There are in the region of 700 expected starts on the Foundation Apprenticeship (Children and Young People) framework in 2018-2020 which is double the 346 starts total across all frameworks for 2016-2018.

The Scottish Government has allocated £243 million for the expansion of early learning and childcare in the 2018-19 draft budget. This includes £54.3 million to expand and upskill the early learning and childcare workforce.

The Scottish Government’s national recruitment campaign has more information about pursuing a career in early learning and childcare.

Skills Development Scotland’s Q3 2017/8 statistics published today show that the Scottish Government has delivered 18,774 Modern Apprenticeship starts this year by the end of Q3.


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