What's engineering like?

Engineers bring ideas to life. They design, create, test and improve all sorts of products and processes. From James Watt’s steam engine to Andy Scott’s Kelpies, Scotland is great at engineering.

At the start of your engineering career, you can expect to earn around £30,000 per year. As you gain experience, your salary can rise to £70,000*. There are currently 9000 engineers working in Scotland.

This is a great time to start your engineering career as there's a huge demand for new talent. UK companies are actively looking to employ people with engineering skills.

It’s an industry offering careers in range of sectors including space, aviation, transport, medicine, technology and fashion. You could work in roles like:

  • Aerospace engineer
  • Chemical engineer
  • Electrical engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Naval architect

You will not always be sitting at a desk. It's possible that you could be working in a laboratory, at sea, underground or a recording studio.

If you want to build a career in engineering, this Foundation Apprenticeship is for you. It's a unique opportunity to gain real workplace knowledge and experience. You will also get an industry-recognised qualification.

(*Salary ranges from National Careers Service)

Where can 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 of the Modern Apprenticeship in Engineering at SCQF level 6/7. You’ll have the right skills and experience to choose to progress to a related engineering Modern Apprenticeship.

  • A Graduate Apprenticeship: You’ll have the right skills and experience to choose to progress to a Graduate Apprenticeship in an engineering subject.

  • Further Education: Continue your studies at college, with an HNC or HND in an engineering 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. This apprenticeship also provides you with 56 UCAS tariff points. Find out more about points on the UCAS website

  • Straight to a job: Use your qualification and work experience to find a job in the engineering industry.

What's the qualification?

You’ll gain a Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering. This is the same level of learning as an SQA Higher (SCQF level 6).

This includes:

  • A National Certificate (NC) in an Engineering Discipline at SCQF level 6, for example: Engineering Systems, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering.
  • Core units of an SVQ in Performing Engineering Operations at SCQF level 5
  • Work placement experience/industry challenge

SCQF qualification levels explained

What will I learn?

The topics you learn as part of your National Certificate will depend on the area of engineering you choose to study. These include:

  • Engineering Systems
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Fabrication and Welding Engineering
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Measurement and Control Engineering

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

  • Comply with statutory regulations and organisational safety requirements
  • Use and interpret engineering data and documentation
  • Work efficiently and effectively in engineering

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

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

Icon of a person's head and shoulders

Key facts

  • You could progress to jobs within engineering and related industries
  • Average salaries range from around £30,000 to £70,000 per year
  • The qualification is equal to an SQA Higher (SCQF level 6)

person icon

How will it work?

Your Foundation Apprenticeship will run alongside your other school subjects. You'll spend time working on projects supported by a learning provider, like a college, as well as an employer. It'll give you an industry recognised qualification which will 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