In the first two instalments of Edinburgh Napier University’s Graduate Apprenticeship information series, we answered the questions ‘What are Graduate Apprenticeships?’ and ‘What are the benefits of Graduate Apprenticeships?’ In this final instalment, we will be telling you a bit more about the upskilling opportunities of the Graduate Apprenticeship programme.

In case you missed it, here is a reminder of what Graduate Apprenticeships are and some of their benefits…

Graduate Apprenticeships (GA) at Edinburgh Napier University offer high quality work-based learning to strengthen the skills people and businesses need. Available to businesses of any size in Scotland, they provide a route for new and existing staff to get a fully funded university degree while in a paid job. There is no maximum age limit and learning costs are fully funded by Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for the full duration of the course, so there are no costs to your business or your apprentices. Graduate Apprentices typically spend 20% of their time studying at university, and the remaining 80% applying their learning and progressing as professionals in the workplace. Tasks and projects apprentices carry out in work can also count towards their degree through work-based learning. Benefits include:

  • Work-ready employees with practical experience
  • Fully funded by SAAS at no cost to business or apprentice
  • Flexible entry requirements
  • Available to businesses of all sizes
  • Mentorship and guidance for apprentice and business
  • Innovative and motivated workforce
  • Attract and retain the best employees and demonstrate a commitment to learning and development


Closing the skills gap with Graduate Apprenticeships


According to a report by the Open University in 2021, almost two thirds of organisations in Scotland (62%) are struggling to find people with the right skills.

As a result, almost half of Scottish businesses (42%) think they will struggle to find people with the right skills in the next 12 months, with 36% saying skills shortages will continue to be a problem for the next five years.

These skills shortages are felt amongst the digital, technology, engineering, construction, and business management sectors and have a knock-on effect through the Scottish economy. If Scotland cannot meet skills demands, it will struggle to attract investment from business.

Since their launch in 2017, Edinburgh Napier’s Graduate Apprenticeships have grown rapidly and have already provided benefits to Scotland’s labour market. They offer high quality work-based learning and degree level training, helping to alleviate workplace challenges and skills shortages both in the immediate and long term. Skills for certain industries are best learned on the job, for example, Fiona Inglis, a Graduate Apprentice with Forrit, explained how the work-based project modules in third and fourth year allowed her to advance her career in the tech industry, she said: “The course allowed me to develop those skills and eventually progress from Quality Assurance into a Web Development based role.”

So, students learn practical, relevant skills as a part of their work, and produce reflective diaries and reports as a part of their course, to consolidate their learning and solidify their theoretical knowledge. More than ever, Graduate Apprenticeships will prove crucial to Scotland’s economic recovery.

Graduate Apprenticeships enable employers to benefit from bridging skills gaps and growing their talent pipeline in typically hard-to-fill job roles whilst aiding Scotland’s workforce development, creating the next generation of talent in their business without paying any training costs.

Graduate Apprentices from Forrit – Alexandra Walker

Alex Walker, Business Operations Director with Forrit explained why her business are committed to the Graduate Apprenticeship programme with Edinburgh Napier:

“There are so many benefits of a Graduate Apprenticeship scheme, developing talent is something that is really important to us, particularly long term because it helps to close that skills gap that we’re seeing in the technology space. A lot of employers will also tell you that graduates lack the technical, job-specific, practical skills, but by taking people on before university we can build these skills in alongside their degree.”

For more information on Graduate apprenticeship opportunities available with Edinburgh Napier University, visit our website to get in touch and start upskilling your business.