Costs of learning: student funding guide 2019 to 2020

Funding guide for learners and students including those going to college or university.

Learning while you work

One way to make sure you have a steady income while you study is to carry out work-based learning. At the very least you will get a training allowance, and very often you'll get a full wage at the current rate for the job you're doing. Work-based learning includes the following.


Modern Apprenticeships

A Modern Apprenticeship is a paid job where you receive industry recognised training as well as workplace experience. Plus, you work towards a qualification which is accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority. Modern Apprenticeships are available to people aged 16 and over who's main employment and normal working premises is located in Scotland.

There are over 100 Modern Apprenticeships across a range of sectors. A Modern Apprenticeship (MA) is a vocational training award. It is not a qualification in itself, but each MA framework contains separately assessed elements around knowledge-based, competence-based, and core skills. Most MA Frameworks are underpinned by Scottish or National Vocational Qualifications (S/NVQs), which are built on National Occupational Standards (NOS).

To complete their MA, candidates must achieve an S/NVQ (or appropriate accredited vocational qualification) at SCQF level 5 or above and 5 core skills: IT, Problem Solving, Numeracy, Communication and Working with Others.

All apprentices in Scotland are employed for the duration of their training and receive a wage from their employer. Modern Apprenticeship funding represents a contribution towards the cost of training the apprentice.

Graduate Apprenticeships

A Graduate Apprenticeship helps you build the skills and knowledge that Scottish industries need. You'll work, get paid, and achieve a degree up to SCQF level 11. You'll spend around 80% of your time learning on the job, but will also be a student at a university or college where you will spend around 20% of your time. A Graduate Apprenticeship at SCQF level 10 (honours degree level) will take up to 4 years to complete. There are 12 Graduate Apprenticeship frameworks available with a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics disciplines.

In order to apply, you must be resident in Scotland before you start your Graduate Apprenticeship. The premises you work in must also be located in Scotland. As part of your application, you'll have to show that you have the right to live and work in Scotland.

There's no upper age limit on Graduate Apprenticeship. You can apply if you're 16 or over. Some vacancies might be for ages 18 and over, because of health and safety requirements.

Even if you've already done a degree with SAAS funding, you could still do a GA - if it's a higher level of qualification in the same subject or a career change to something new. You can also complete a GA as an existing employee, too. You could discuss this option with your employer.

Graduate Apprenticeship funding covers the full cost of training and Graduate Apprentices are paid a wage by their employers.

Further Information about Apprenticeships

Further information about Apprenticeships is available by phoning the Skills Development Scotland helpline on 0800 917 8000 or by visiting their website at

Apprenticeship vacancies, searchable by sector and by geographic area is available from the Apprenticeships in Scotland website at

The Employability Fund

From 1 April 2013, the Employability Fund brought together existing Scottish Government investment in pre-employment training. This moved away from the funding of specific programmes of learning, such as Get Ready for Work and Training for Work, towards provision better tailored to the needs of participants and local labour markets.

The majority of support through the Employability Fund is focused on young people, however the Scottish Government also recognises the need to have provision targeted at meeting the needs of adults who have been unemployed up to 12 months towards and into work. The fund is expected to deliver up to 9,000 individual training opportunities contracted by Skills Development Scotland in 2019-20.

Young people aged 16-18 participating on the Employability Fund will receive a training allowance of £55 per week. Unemployed adults aged 18+ will receive a training equivalent to what they would otherwise receive in DWP Benefits.

Further information on the Employability Fund is available at or by calling SDS on 0141 285 6000. Your Careers Advisor or Jobcentre Plus Advisor may also be able to provide you with information on the opportunities available in your area.

SDS Individual Training Accounts

SDS Individual Training Accounts provide up to £200 towards the cost of a training course. The programme is aimed at individuals who are unemployed and looking to get into work or earning less than £22,000 per year and looking to progress in work.

For more information on the full eligibility criteria and the courses which ITA can be used to support visit"

Community Based Adult Learning

Community-based learning opportunities, sometimes called Community Learning and Development, or CLD, may be available free of charge in your local area. You can often find information about CLD classes and services in your local library or community centre.

Adult literacy and numeracy - help with reading writing and numbers

If you or someone you know needs help with reading, writing or numbers, call The Big Plus free on 0800 917 8000. Tutor support is free and there are venues across the country in every community. You can also find out more at

Partnership Action for Continuing Employment

If you have been made redundant, you can get support through Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE). PACE is the Scottish Government's initiative for responding to redundancy situations. Through providing skills development and employability support, PACE aims to minimise the time people affected by redundancy are out of work.

Skills Development Scotland leads on the delivery of PACE on behalf of the Scottish Government in conjunction with a number of key partners including the Department for Work and Pensions. There are eighteen local PACE teams across Scotland to ensure a speedy and effective response.

PACE support is tailored to meet individual needs and local circumstances and includes: one to one counselling; information on rights and entitlements, benefits entitlement and tax calculation; help with job search; CV writing, application forms and covering letters; preparation for interviews; identifying learning and training opportunities; starting up a business; making the most of your money; and coping with redundancy related stress.

To find out more call the PACE Helpline on 0800 917 8000 or visit the website



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