Foundation Apprenticeships

Get work experience. Get qualified.

Develop skills for work. And gain a qualification.

To get a job you need experience. To get experience you need a job. It's a tough place to start from. How do you get one without the other?

One option is a Foundation Apprenticeship.

What is it?

You can choose a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subject selections in S5 or S6.

It's a qualification, over 1 or 2 years, that lets you gain work experience in one of Scotland's 12 growth industries while you're still at school. And it fits in with your other senior subjects.

You spend one day or two half days a week working with a local employer, learning the skills that you will need in your future career, wherever that takes you.

You might be working in a creative design studio delivering new content to a design brief with the Creative and Digital Media Foundation Apprenticeship. Or, you could be surveying sites in construction as part of your Civil Engineering FA.

You'll also be developing communication, team-work and self-management skills, giving you a head start for your future.

Planning on going to college?

Find out how a Foundation Apprenticeship can help you get into the course you want.

Applying to university?

Find out how your Foundation Apprenticeship can help.

Want to go straight to work?

Take a look at this table to see how your Foundation Apprenticeship can help you progress into a Modern Apprenticeship.

What are the benefits?

  1. It’s the same level as a Higher (SCQF6). The only difference is that you are assessed as you go, so there's no final exam.

  2. It counts as one of your entry qualifications to all colleges and universities across Scotland. It will also help make your personal statement really stand out.

  3. It gives you great insight into your chosen industry. You can sometimes use it to fast track part of a Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship. Or you might choose to go straight to work


How does it work?

  1. In your first year, you will spend time at college developing the essential skills you will need on your placement.

  2. The second year lets you spend time out of the classroom completing an extended work placement with one of Scotland’s top employers.

  3. You will be assessed on the work you carry out throughout your placement whether at college or in the workplace. Your employer will work with you to develop a plan for the assessments.


"When I came to Dell I was treated like a real member of staff, which gave me more confidence."

Lucy, Business Skills Foundation Apprentice at Dell

Available subjects

Foundation Apprenticeships have been developed for 12 of Scotland's growth industries.



Help businesses keep track of their money and grow their profits. If you’re a good problem-solver, this FA could be your solution.

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Business Skills

Want to know what makes a company successful? Learn about managing people, projects, and strategy.

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Civil Engineering

Our buildings, canals, roads, bridges and motorways depend on civil engineers. You could help create the future built environment of Scotland.

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Creative and Digital Media

Calling storytellers, techies, designers and creative thinkers. This is an FA that lets you bring your ideas to life.

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Engineers work out new and better ways to do things - and create them. If you're a natural problem solver, it could be for you.

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Financial Services

Get a foot in the door of business, accountancy and banking. You could manage the money that keeps everything else ticking along.

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Food and Drink Technologies

Be at the forefront of what we need to survive. Help develop products we’ll eat and drink in the future while keeping us and our planet safe.

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Hardware and System Support

Every business in the country depends on technology. You could be the one to fix problems, keep it running, and make it work better.

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Scientific Technologies

Some of our biggest advancements start out in a lab. Science has the power to change the world - and you could be part of it.

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Social Services Children and Young People

Every child deserves the best start in life, and to grow up happy, healthy and confident. You can help make sure this happens.

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Social Services and Healthcare

Want to try something challenging, but rewarding? Learn about helping people when they need it most.

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Software Development

Gaming, virtual reality, cyber security - the digital world is changing fast. You could help decide where it goes next.

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Find a Foundation Apprenticeship at your school

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

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