Social Services and Healthcare


People are at the heart of healthcare and social services. If you have a passion for improving lives and helping others, a career in this rewarding field could be for you. 

Care for sick, injured or disabled people as an adult nurse or children’s nurse. Look after people at home or in residential homes as a care home managercare assistant or residential support worker. Give advice and support to families to help them improve their lives as a social worker. A Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare helps you prepare for a wide range of different care roles. 

Over 161,000 people are currently employed by NHS Scotland. The number of jobs are still growing, and there are great opportunities for progression, too.

What's the qualification?

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

This includes:

  • A National Progression Award (NPA) in Social Services and Healthcare at SCQF level 6
  • Core units of an SVQ in Social Services and Healthcare at SCQF level 6
  • A work placement

SCQF qualification levels explained

What will I learn?

For your National Progression Award, your topics will be:

  • Social Services in Scotland
  • Safeguarding People
  • Communication in Care Relationships
  • Safe Practice and Wellbeing in Social Services
  • Human Development and Social Influences

To achieve your SVQ units, you’ll be assessed as part of your work placement. You’ll learn how to:

  • Support effective communication
  • Support the health and safety of yourself and individuals
  • Develop your own knowledge and practice
  • Support the safeguarding of individuals

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 have already achieved core units which can support your progression to the higher level Modern Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare, giving you a head start.

  • Further Education: Continue your studies at college, with an HNC or HND in a social services or healthcare subject. 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 social services and healthcare industry.

SCQF qualification levels explained

Find out if this subject is available at your school