We’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 support, all of us are committed to helping people find rewarding careers. 

A key part of this is apprenticeships.  

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

It’s great for businesses too.  

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

We offer three types of apprenticeships: 

  • Foundation Apprenticeships – For pupils in S5 and S6. They choose this qualification as part of their subject choices and get the chance to work with employers. 
  • Modern Apprenticeships - For anyone who is 16 or above. 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. 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.  

Find out how you can get involved as an individual, employer or learning provider. 

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.

Discover how apprenticeships are developed

Apprenticeship Approval Group

The group assess and approve our new and existing apprenticeships, including Foundation and Graduate Apprenticeships. Find out more about it's role and members. 

Apprenticeship Approval Group

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