Employer laughing with two younger employees in an industrial work setting, surrounded by machineryWe’re Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Scotland’s national skills body. It’s our job to help create a skilled workforce that’s ready to face the future.  

We have more than 1,700 colleagues across the country who work in schools, career centres and offices. Whether it’s face-to-face, over the phone or online, we help people find rewarding careers. 

About apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is when someone works towards a qualification on the job. Apprentices work with experienced colleagues on real projects while putting into practice what they learn at college or university. 

Benefits of apprenticeships

Employers can develop their existing staff or find and grow new talent. Apprenticeships create a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. They can tackle skills gaps, boost productivity and help a business stay competitive. 

Types of apprenticeships

  • Foundation Apprenticeships – For pupils in S3 to S6. They choose this qualification as part of their subject choices and work with employers. 
  • Modern Apprenticeships - Primarily aimed at people who are 16 to 24, although there's no upper age limit. A Modern Apprentice is employed and works towards a qualification with a college or learning provider.  
  • Graduate Apprenticeships – For anyone who is 16 or above – there's no upper age limit. A Graduate Apprentice is employed and works full-time while gaining an Honours or Masters degree. 

We work closely with Scotland’s industries to make sure apprenticeships meet their needs. We also administer the funding for apprenticeships training, on behalf of the Scottish Government.  

You can get involved as an individual, employer or learning provider. 

Discover how apprenticeships are developed

Apprenticeship development

Apprenticeship development involves employers, apprentices and people from different backgrounds. Through practical workshops, groups and consultation we develop apprenticeships that provides essential skills.

More about apprenticeship development

Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board

The Board is led by employers and representatives from different industry bodies. Find out about their role in the development of apprenticeships.

Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board

European Social Fund

Skills Development Scotland receives funding from the European Social Fund for the expansion of apprenticeships. Although we are no longer part of the EU, SDS will continue to receive funds until 2023. A condition of the funding is that SDS includes ESF branding on all publicity material, including TV adverts.