Supporting graduates

Over 1,300 Graduate Apprenticeship places for 2019/20.

More than 1,300 new Graduate Apprenticeship work-based learning opportunities will help boost Scotland’s economy and give people a head-start in their careers.

Fair Work Secretary Derek Mackay announced that the target for Graduate Apprenticeships in 2019/20 has been increased to 1,300. This builds on last year’s achieved target of 800 and recognises the increasing demand for gaining degree level qualifications whilst in employment.

Graduate Apprenticeships have been developed by Skills Development Scotland, in partnership with industry and the further and higher education sectors, to provide work-based learning opportunities up to Master’s degree level.

Supporting sectors that have a need for highly skilled jobs, such as civil engineering, digital and cyber security, graduate apprenticeships provide learning and development opportunities for new and existing employees and enable employers to upskill their workforce.  

The growth of Graduate Apprenticeships supports the Scottish Government’s ambition to create 30,000 apprenticeship jobs a year by 2020.

Making the announcement ahead of Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Mr Mackay said:

“Apprenticeships are a vital piece of the jigsaw to improve Scotland’s productivity, benefitting individuals, employers and the wider economy. That is why we are investing in more apprenticeship opportunities than ever before, ensuing more people benefit from work-based learning.

“We remain firmly on track to achieve our ambitious target of 30,000 new apprenticeship starts by 2020, with a focus on higher level apprenticeships. By increasing the number of Graduate Apprenticeships available for 2019/20 to more than 1,300, more people will have the opportunity to study while they earn and gain first-hand experience of their industry.”

The expansion includes the wider roll out of the Graduate Apprenticeship in Data Science, following a successful pilot funded by the Scottish Government and run in partnership with St Andrews University, University of Edinburgh and global accounting and business services firm, PwC.

Access to Graduate Apprenticeships has also increased through provision, with opportunities available for the first time through University of Aberdeen.

Skills Development Scotland Chief Executive Damien Yeates said:

“Apprenticeships offer employers a unique opportunity to invest in and develop the skills their business needs for the future.

“SDS continues to work with business to increase the number of new apprenticeship jobs through Modern and Graduate opportunities – creating skills that meet their needs.

“Scottish apprenticeships now allow employers to introduce young people to their business while they are still at school and keep them in their workforce until they are degree qualified.”



Scottish Apprenticeship Week is the nationwide campaign aimed at encouraging more employers to take on apprentices.

This year’s theme is ‘Skills for the Future’, recognising the importance of investing in the workforce. The hashtag for the week is #ScotAppWeek.

Graduate Apprenticeship delivery partners include:

  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Glasgow Kelvin College
  • Heriot-Watt University
  • Open University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Robert Gordon University
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • University of Glasgow


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