Choose a career in science and help develop the medicines and biotechnology of the future. You could work in medical research or industrial, marine, plant and environmental areas.

Scotland has a thriving life science and related science sector. There are over 7,500 roles within life sciences related operations, like: 

  • Biomedical scientist
  • Biotechnologist, biochemist
  • Laboratory technician
  • Marine biologist
  • Geoscientist

There is a great and growing demand for more young workers with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM) skills and qualifications. On average, those working in STEM careers earn 20% more than those working in other fields.

What's the qualification?

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

This includes:

  • A National Progression Award (NPA) in Applied Sciences at SCQF level 6
  • Core units of an SVQ in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (Industrial Science) at SCQF level 6

SCQF qualification levels explained

What will I learn?

Your National Progression Award (NPA) will cover:

  • Laboratory Safety
  • Mathematics for Science
  • Fundamental Chemistry: An Introduction
  • Experimental Procedures: Science

In S6, you’ll be assessed in real life situations in the workplace. You’ll learn how to:

  • Follow health and safety procedures for scientific or technical activities
  • Carry out scientific or technical tests using manual equipment
  • Prepare compounds and solutions for scientific or technical use

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.

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 achieved three units of the Modern Apprenticeship in Life Science and Related Science Industries at SCQF level 6. You’ll have the knowledge and experience to progress your career in this area.

  • Further Education: Continue your studies at college with a HNC or HND in a related 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 42 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 science industry. You could progress into roles like: laboratory attendant, junior laboratory assistant technician, junior technician or laboratory trainee.

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How will it work?

You'll complete your Foundation Apprenticeship 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