What's Social Services and Healthcare like?

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. 

A Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare helps prepare for a range of care roles. These could include:

  • adult or children's nurse
  • care assistant
  • care home manager
  • residential support worker
  • social worker

Over 160,000 people are currently employed by NHS Scotland* and there are great opportunities for progression, too.


*https://www.gov.scot/ 2023

What's the qualification?

You’ll gain a Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare. That's the same level of learning as an SQA Higher, at 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:

  • communicate effectively
  • support health and safety
  • develop your knowledge and practice
  • support safeguarding of individuals

Your Foundation Apprenticeship will also help you to develop meta-skills. Employers value these skills, which include:

  • communication
  • problem-solving
  • working with others
  • time management

You'll need these transferable skills for working in a range of other related jobs.

Where could it take me?

Your Foundation Apprenticeship gives you lots of options, including:

  • Modern Apprenticeship: When you complete your Foundation Apprenticeship, you’ll have achieved core units. These let you progress 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: All Scottish universities recognise Foundation Apprenticeships as equal to SQA Highers. You’ll already have 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 social services and healthcare industry.

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How will it work?

You'll do the Foundation Apprenticeship alongside your other school subjects. You'll work on projects with an employer and a learning provider, such as a college. It'll give you an industry-recognised qualification that's great for your CV.

Read our info on the Social Services: Healthcare Foundation Apprenticeship to see how it all works!

How can I apply?

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

Use the search tool to find out if this subject is available at your school. Then fill out the form that comes next, to let us know you're interested. We'll get back to you with more information.

Find out if this subject is available at your school