Employment and training

​​​​​Young learners in the senior phase of their education (S4-S6) at school will be able to access a range of opportunities and experiences that will help them develop skills for life, learning and work. These experiences will help them make choices on their chosen career pathway. For some, this will be into employment once they have reached the school leaving age.

Foundation Apprenticeships

The Scottish Government's Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) strategy​ is helping young people to develop work-related skills as they prepare to leave school.

While at school, young people can take part in Foundation Apprenticeships (FA). These programmes are equivalent to one Higher grade and all Scottish universities accept them for entry through University and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS). Most universities recognise the Foundation Apprenticeship programme as equivalent to one Higher at A grade or one Higher at B grade. Most of the universities in Scotland have degree programmes in the same subject areas as Foundation Apprenticeships.

Participants normally follow a programme over two years in the senior phase, in which they will attend college and also take part in an extended work placement.

For young people, it is the chance to get a head start on their careers by gaining an industry-recognised qualification and working on real life industry projects. Importantly, their experiences will help to broaden their career options when they leave school. Employers view the programme as an opportunity to attract and select highly motivated and committed young people who are willing to learn and develop into candidates for roles in their company.

​There are currently programmes in accountancy, business skills, civil engineering, creative and digital media, engineering, financial services, food and drink technologies, hardware and system support, scientific technologies, social services- children and young people, software development and social services and healthcare.

Further information can be found on the apprentice​ships page of the my world of work website.​

Modern Apprenticeships

The Scottish Government sees Modern Apprenticeships as a critical element to achieving the success of its employment and skills strategies. Priority will be given to apprenticeship programmes which are STEM based or at higher levels, to help meet the needs of the economy and employers.​ Modern Apprenticeships are a great way for young people to gain skills while working – ‘earning while learning’. Each year, over 26,000 people start a Modern Apprenticeship, combining a qualification with on-the-job experience and skills development.

Employers who have taken on Modern Apprentices are positive about the experience. For example, 96 per cent say those staff who have taken on a Modern Apprenticeship are more able to do their job. They also praised MAs for improving productivity, staff morale, and service and product quality. Modern Apprentices are also enthusiastic about their achievements, with 97 per cent recommending an MA to other people.

Whether a young person is still in school or looking at their options once they leave, a Modern Apprenticeship could be for them. There is a wide variety of apprenticeships available and many of them are in sectors where there is a real shortage of suitably skilled workers.

  • 'My World of Work' has information on apprenticeships, and how to apply.
  • Further information about Modern Apprenticeships can also be found on t​he Apprenciships.scot website.​
  • MappIt is an interactive web programme to help pupils, school leavers and their parents search and apply for Modern Apprenticeship vacancies.​

Graduate Apprenticeships

Graduate Apprenticeships provide a new way into degree-level study for individuals who are currently employed, or who want to go straight into ​work. Introduced in 2016, they have quickly expanded to include more industries and ensure more individuals and employers can take part. The growth of Graduate Apprenticeships has been successful and an increasing number of universities and employers are exploring new and innovative ways of delivering Graduate Apprenticeships. By the end of 2018, fourteen of Scotland’s universities and colleges were delivering Graduate Apprenticeships, in twelve subject areas, covering sectors including ICT and Digital, Cyber Security, Data, Civil Engineering, Engineering, Construction and Business. Students study at college and university, while being employed. Over time, more and more individuals will get the chance to study for a degree at the same time as earning a good wage. More employers will also recognise the benefits of ​apprenticeships as a key part of their recruitment and workforce planning strategy.​

Activity Agreements

Activity Agreements are for those young people who may not, without additional support, make a successful transition to work, further ​education or training. They are often delivered by community learning and development partnerships within a local authority area.

Workers, often youth workers, are skilled at engaging with young people and working with them to develop learning solutions that are tailored to each individual and that enable young people to progress towards other post-16 opportunities.

Related links

My World of Work for parents
Information to help you support your child in making choices about their future.

PlanIt Plus
Essential information about subject choices at school and choosing a career. PlanIt Plus has over 600 job profiles and details of colleges, universities and courses around Scotland.

Apprenticeships in a Nutshell​​
Information from the National Parent Forum of Scotland.