More businesses than ever before are benefiting from skills development thanks to apprenticeships.

As Scotland’s national skills body, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is committed to help create a skilled workforce that’s ready to face the future. 

International evidence shows that Europe’s highest performing economies have strong work-based learning systems which contribute to fewer skills shortages; higher economic growth and lower youth unemployment.

Earlier exposure to the world of work helps individuals to develop the skills, experience and competence that they will need when they leave school. 

Modern Apprenticeships offer young people the chance to work, learn and earn while providing employers with the talent they need to grow their business either through new recruits of existing staff.

New Foundation Apprenticeships (FA) have been developed to bring education and industry closer. They give school pupils the opportunity to complete a qualification where the learning is work based.

While Graduate Apprenticeships (GLA) are taking work-based learning higher, giving apprentices the opportunity to study up to Master’s degree level.

Head of Foundation and Apprenticeships at Skills Development Scotland, Diane Greenlees, said: “Big drivers shaping the economy and the labour market include improving productivity; technological change and the decline in the working age population.  

“We believe that work-based learning and apprenticeships will be major contributors to addressing these issues.

“With thousands more opportunties for young people to take up Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships this year, this is a fantastic time for employers to develop their workforce.

“Employers and partners – including regional Developing Young Workforce groups – across Scotland are really embracing the long-term benefits that Foundation Apprenticeships will bring, by providing a pipeline of talent for the future.

“Foundation Apprenticeships introduce young people to work-based learning while at school –they have huge potential to change the way we develop skills for the future.

“Foundation Apprenticeships are now the first, vital step in engaging with young people about apprenticeships and the benefits of work-based learning.

“They foster stronger links between employers and education, helping to ensure that local employers have the opportunity to play a more active role in developing the young workforce and shaping the next generation of talent.”

There are 12 types of Foundation Apprenticeships covering key sectors, all based on the successful Modern Apprenticeship programme.

Young people can choose FAs alongside their other senior subject choices and can complete elements of a Modern Apprenticeship while still at school.

As well as broadening their skill set, the FA boosts their confidence and gives them an idea of what the world of work is really like. 

Every local authority area in Scotland now has Foundation Apprenticeship programmes up and running with universities across Scotland agreeing to accept them as entry requirements for related and in most cases, all, courses. 

Industry is embracing Foundation Apprenticeships too, with employers like Scottish Water and Prudential recognising the importance of engaging with young people about career pathways and skills for the workplace as early as possible. 

Employers can get involved in FAs in partnership with colleges and schools across the country.

More information about how employers can get involved with FAs and Apprenticeships is available at