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Food and Drink Technologies


For anyone looking to pursue a career as a scientist, technologist or engineer, the Food and Drink sector offers a great range of challenging and rewarding opportunities which include speedy pathways to promotion.  As a food scientist, a food technologist or product designer, you could help create the products of the future. And, there’s a growing demand for engineering roles like agricultural engineer, electrical engineer and mechanical engineer within the industry.

There continues to be significant career opportunities across all occupations within the Food and Drink sector, the biggest in Scotland. We’ll always need food, so there will always be jobs! The sector will need 19,000 bright and highly trained new recruits by 2024 to meet skills needs, and by working towards the Foundation Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Technologies, you can be part of it.

What's the qualification?

You’ll gain a Foundation Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Technologies, which is the same level of learning as an SQA Higher (SCQF level 6).

  • A National Progression Award (NPA) in Food Manufacturing at SCQF level 6
  • Awards in Health & Safety and Food Hygiene at SCQF level 5
  • Core units of an SVQ in Food and Drink Operations at SCQF level 6
  • A substantial work placement

SCQF qualification levels explained

What will I learn?

Your National Progression Award (NPA) will cover topics like:

  • Food Manufacturing: Fundamentals of Food Science
  • Food Manufacturing: Food Production
  • Food Manufacturing: Commercial and Social Drivers
  • Food Manufacturing: Sustainability
  • Elementary Food Hygiene
  • Elementary Health and Safety

Your learning will be hands-on, reflecting the practical nature of food manufacturing and the SVQ units will be assessed when you are in a work placement. During this time, you’ll learn how to:

  • Develop a new product in a food business
  • Improve food safety in manufacture
  • Develop working relationships with colleagues
  • Promote and support creative thinking in a food business

Your Foundation Apprenticeship will also help you to develop core skills valued by employers, particularly:

  • Communication
  • Problem solving
  • Working with others
  • Time management

These transferable skills are necessary and highly desirable for working in a range of other related jobs.

SCQF qualification levels explained

Where could it take me?

Your Foundation Apprenticeship gives you lots of options: it’s up to you where you go next.

  • A Modern Apprenticeship: On completing your Foundation Apprenticeship, you’ll already have achieved five units of the Food and Drink Operations Modern Apprenticeship at SCQF level 6. If you choose this route, you’ll have a head start in your career.

  • Further Education: Continue your studies and complete a Higher National Certificate/Diploma in Food Science and Technology, or related subjects. Your workplace experience will support your college application.

  • University: Foundation Apprenticeships are recognised as equivalent to SQA Highers by all Scottish universities. You’ll already have quality experience in the industry – this will make your UCAS stand out from the crowd.

  • Straight to a job: Use your qualification and work experience to find a job in the food and drink industry. Typical roles include: baker, confectioner, quality assurance operative, productivity technician and production control operative.

SCQF qualification levels explained

How will it work?

You'll complete your Foundation Apprenticeship at school, alongside your other subjects. You'll spend time learning at a learning provider, such as a college, and with an employer on a practical work placement. It'll give your career a head-start, and look great on your CV.

How to apply

If you're staying on at school, you can apply for a Foundation Apprenticeship.

You can use the search tool to find out if this subject is available at your school. Then just fill out the form to let us know you're interested, and we'll get back to you with more information. 

Find out if this subject is available at your school