Foundation Apprenticeships

Learn the skills you need for the future, while you're still at school

Get out of the classroom and get a real taste of the world of work.

You sit a Foundation Apprenticeship over two years, usually starting in fifth year with your Highers and National 5s.

The difference is, you spend time away from school, at college and with an employer. So you get real, practical work experience.

  • Get a qualification that employers recognise and the skills you need to start a career in that industry

  • Open up your options after school

  • You get to work on real projects with an employer. Some of Scotland's biggest, best known organisations are involved, including Barclays, Network Rail, and the NHS

  • It's a chance to try a career out – so you can decide if it's right for you

Where could a Foundation Apprenticeship take you?

Head with cogs for brain

Straight to work

An FA gives you skills employers want - like timekeeping, problem solving, communication and teamwork.

You’ll have connections with employers, work experience and a qualification recognised by industry.

All this looks great on your CV.


A Modern Apprenticeship

In the same subject: You could complete your MA quicker because you’ll have completed some elements of the MA during the FA.

In another subject: You’ll already have experience of learning on the job. That looks good to employers who are recruiting MAs.


A Graduate Level Apprenticeship

You’ll have experience of learning through work – so you’re ready to do it at a higher level.

With a GLA, you can take your studies further, even up to Master’s degree level. All while you have a job.

University building

College or uni

Foundation Apprenticeships are recognised by many Scottish universities and colleges.

Your FA means you already have quality experience in the industry – this helps your UCAS or college application stand out.

Foundation Apprenticeships are currently accepted as entry requirements for courses at:

  • Glasgow University
  • Abertay University
  • University of Aberdeen
  • Robert Gordon University
  • University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Heriot Watt University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Stirling

What’s available in your area?

Pick your area to see which courses are available. The Foundation Apprenticeship programme is still expanding, so what you can do depends on where your school is.

Where could I do this Foundation Apprenticeship?

You'll do your Foundation Apprenticeship out of school, probably through a local college. They can give you details about entry requirements, and how to apply.

In , this Foundation Apprenticeship is available at:

Explore other subjects

What are the benefits?

What qualifications would I get?

What careers could this lead to?

Modern Apprenticeship in another subject

Graduate Level Apprenticeship

College or uni

Straight to work

Types of Foundation Apprenticeship


Not sure which apprenticeship is for you?

My World of Work can help you explore your options. Try one of the tools below, and start to find out more about what careers might suit you.

What's a Foundation Apprenticeship really like?

Find out from some of the pupils who've already done it.

Marta, finance FA, Barclays

'The Foundation Apprenticeship helped me broaden my horizons and improved my knowledge of working in a big financial services organisation.'

Foundation Apprenticeships tell employers what an FA is all about

At a business breakfast event, FAs shared their experience of their apprenticeships with employers. Find out what they had to say.

Jenna and Heather, health and social care FAs, Craigie House

Jenna and Heather's apprenticeship meant getting hands-on experience at Craigie House care home.

Monisha, finance FA, Barclays

'I definitely think this will help me in the future, especially when I go to get a job. It shows from a young age I've had this experience and learned all these different things.'

Callum, engineering FA, Score Europe

Completing a Foundation Apprenticeship led Callum to apply for a Modern Apprenticeship.

Abbi, engineering FA, Fife College

‘Since I started doing the Foundation Apprenticeship, my confidence has grown a lot.’

Connor, finance FA, Barclays

'The Foundation Apprenticeship gives you an advantage when applying for jobs and attending interviews. Being able to say you’ve had experience working for a large company like Barclays makes you stand out as a candidate.'

Load more

Foundation Apprenticeships are currently accepted as entry requirements for courses at:

  • University of Glasgow – All faculties except Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Law
  • Abertay University – Across all faculties
  • University of Aberdeen – Who have indicated that an FA Social Services Children and Young People may be an advantage in applications for teaching, as it includes face-to-face classroom experience. Exemptions may apply for medicine, law and dentistry
  • University of Dundee – Exemptions may apply for medicine, law and dentistry
  • Robert Gordon University – Across all faculties
  • University of the Highlands and Islands – Across all faculties
  • Heriot-Watt University – Across all faculties. FA Engineering may be an advantage to applications to engineering
  • Queen Margaret University – Across all faculties
  • University of Stirling – Accept FAs as equivalent to one Higher at B
  • Glasgow Caledonian University - Accept FAs as equivalent to one Higher
  • University of West of Scotland - Accept FAs as equivalent to one Higher. FA Engineering may be an advantage to applications to engineering

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Skills Development Scotland is delivering Foundation Apprenticeships with support from the European Social Fund

European Union and Scottish flags. European Social Fund. Investing in a smart, sustainable and inclusive future.