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Frequently asked questions about Graduate Apprenticeships

Would I be an employee or a student?

You would be first and foremost an employee, spending around 80% of your time with your employer. You would spend the rest of your time with a university or college, and would be enrolled in your university / college, having access to the same facilities and benefits as other students.

The exact split between work and learning is agreed by your employer and the university / college providing the course. For example, some employers may agree for their apprentices to attend university or college 1 day a week, whilst others may opt for more online learning or block release learning for several weeks at a time throughout the year.

The integration of work and learning allows the work you carry out in employment to count towards your qualification, meaning that attendance at university can be flexible based on your employer’s requirements.

How long will it take to complete a GA?

It depends on the level of your qualification. A GA at SCQF level 10 (honours degree level) will take up to 4 years to complete and a GA at SCQF level 8 (Dip HE level) will take up to 2 years to complete.

Because you can attend university or college outwith normal term time, you could complete the qualification faster. Depending on what you've done in the past, you might be allowed advanced entry, so you could complete the qualification sooner.

How do I apply for a GA vacancy?

All Graduate Apprentices are full time employees. To apply for new Graduate Apprenticeship opportunities you should apply directly to the employer advertising the vacancy. You can find current vacancies listed on

If you are an existing employee and interested in taking up a GA in one of the available courses, please speak to your employer who should contact a learning provider delivering an associated course for further information on how to get involved. More information is available in the employers section of the website.

When will vacancies be posted?

GAs will be advertised throughout the year. We'll update the Graduate Apprenticeships page with new vacancies, so keep checking back.

What qualifications do I need to apply for a GA?

It depends on the course you're applying for, and the university or college that's delivering it. The employer might take previous industry experience or qualifications into account. For example, if you've already completed a Modern Apprenticeship and want to progress to a GA in the same subject.

Can I become a Graduate Apprentice if I am already in employment?

Yes, Graduate Apprenticeships are an open to existing employees. Ask your employer about options for beginning a Graduate Apprenticeship.

Can I do part of a GA? I’d like advanced entry, or to leave at a lower level.

Yes. Graduate Apprenticeships have flexible entry and exit points in the programme so you can you begin and leave your course, at the right point. The university or college will take into consideration what you have previously studied along with any relevant industry experience and agree your current stage with your employer. The GA is designed so that any previous learning you have done, will not be repeated.

For example, if you have already attained a relevant qualification at SCQF level 8, prior to enrolling on a GA at SCQF level 10, you may be able to have percentage of your GA qualification recognised as being achieved already. This will reduce the amount of time you require to complete the course.

However, if an apprentice doing a GA at SCQF level 10 (honours degree level) exits before completing the course, they will only be able to leave with a GA at SCQF level 8 (DipHE level).

Would I pay for the Graduate Apprenticeship?

No, your learning is funded so there's no cost to you. Plus, you're an employee, so you'll get paid by your employer. Any additional costs in relation to books, materials and travel should be discussed with your employer.

Do I have to apply for funding from Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) to cover tuition fees?

Yes, you will have to apply to SAAS annually for each year of your course for tuition fees, which will be paid directly by SAAS to the university you attend. For more information on funding for Graduate Apprenticeships, visit the SAAS website.

What happens if I am unable to meet the academic demands of the course?

If your academic work doesn't meet the required standard, you'll be offered resits in line with the university or college policy. If you are not successful in resits, you'll be offered an award at the last achievement level (for example an Ordinary Degree, Diploma of Higher Education, or Certificate of Higher Education).

I have a question or concern about my mental health. Can my employer help?

Most employers will be sympathetic and do everything they can to help the people in their organisation.

Employers also have legal duties around mental health, particularly where someone has been clearly identified as having a mental health difficulty, e.g. through a GP or other health professional’s diagnosis.

Find out more about your mental health at work and how your employer can help, in our resource Mental health at work - a resource for Apprentices.

What happens if my employer terminates my employment before I complete my GA?

If you employer can no longer keep you in employment, you'll have the option to continue your apprenticeship with another employer, where available, or to join a related course with the university or college who is delivering your learning. Skills Development Scotland will be involved to provide support.

Can I go from a Foundation or Modern Apprentice to a Graduate Apprentice?

Yes. If you've completed a Foundation Apprenticeship or Modern Apprenticeship in the same subject, you can apply to become a Graduate Apprentice studying the same subject, if there are vacancies. The Graduate Apprenticeship is designed so that previous learning will not be repeated. The employer and university will ensure that you join the programme at the right level, recognising any prior learning you've done.

Are GAs accredited by professional bodies?

In most cases, the GA courses have been mapped to professional body standards so you'll be able to apply for membership to any professional body relevant to your industry once you've achieved your qualification.