Graduate Apprenticeships

Designed by industry, for industry to build the skills you need to succeed

We're working with employers, industry representatives, universities and colleges to create Graduate Apprenticeships.

These qualifications are designed to suit your industry, and go up to Masters degree level. They're flexible enough to meet your specific needs as an employer – for new recruits, or existing employees.

So, you can develop employees with the right knowledge and skills to support and grow your business.

  • There are currently 11 frameworks available, ranging from Business Skills to Engineering. Find the Graduate Apprenticeship to fit your business.

  • Bring new knowledge and skills into your business

  • Plan for your skills needs

  • Attract new talent, as an alternative to traditional graduate schemes

  • Retain employees by supporting and investing in their development

  • Develop networks with colleges and universities

  • Flexible entry and exit points mean your employees can get qualified to the level your business needs. Plus, universities and colleges work with you to create a learning timetable that suits you

  • They’re based on the standards of professional or regulatory bodies. So, your employees have a clear path to professional recognition

  • For Graduate Apprentices starting in 2017 and 2018, Skills Development Scotland will fund their learning costs for the duration of the course. Find out about future plans

How it works

A Graduate Apprentice will work for you full time. It's likely that they'll spend about 80% of their time at work, and 20% with a university or college.

You'll work with the university or college delivering the training to decide what kind of learning timetable best suits your business.

For example, it might suit you to have apprentices attending uni or college once a week. Or, online learning or a block release learning for several weeks, spaced throughout the year, may suit you better.

The mix between work and learning means the work your employees do counts towards their qualification. 

1. Choose the course that interests you, and contact the university or college delivering it. Find out about the courses available now, and who to contact

2. Discuss your entry requirements, timescales for recruitment, course content and assessment methods with the university or college

3. Create the job description (including entry requirements and a closing date)

4. Advertise your vacancy. You can post it here on, and it'll appear in our vacancy search, on My World of Work, Adzuna and Universal Jobmatch

5. Review your applications and liaise with the university or college throughout

Who can become a GA?


The employee must be resident in Scotland at the start of their Graduate Apprenticeship. In addition, the premises they're working in must be located in Scotland.

There's no maximum age limit, so you can benefit from additional skills and experience an applicant may have. The employee must be at least 16 years old (or 18, depending on any health and safety requirements in your workplace).

If an employee has already studied or achieved a degree level qualification, they're still eligible for a GA if it leads to a higher level of qualification or it's in a different subject.

You can use a GA to help existing employees gain a qualification, or to recruit and train new starts. 


Universities and colleges - 2018 delivery partners


  • Edinburgh Napier University
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Glasgow Kelvin College
  • Heriot - Watt University
  • The Open University
  • Queen Margaret University
  • Robert Gordon University
  • University of the West of Scotland
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Strathclyde
  • University of the Highlands and Islands

More questions?

Try browsing through our answers to frequently asked questions about GAs.

Building the future of Graduate Apprenticeships

Following on from the recent consultation on the apprenticeship levy, the Scottish Government has reaffirmed its committed to the expansion of work-based learning opportunities through Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships.  

Scottish Ministers are committed to increasing the number of Modern Apprentices, including Graduate Apprentices, to 30,000 by 2020. They have expressed their strong support for the expansion of Foundation Apprenticeships, as an important part of its Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) youth employment strategy.

The Scottish Government, SDS and its partners understand the level of investment and commitment needed to meet the scale of ambition. We're confident that, by working with industry, employers, FE colleges and universities, Graduate Apprenticeships will become an embedded part of Scotland’s skills landscape by 2020 and beyond.

Find a Graduate Apprenticeship

There are 11 frameworks available, ranging from Business Skills to Engineering. Find the Graduate Apprenticeship to fit your business.

Browse Frameworks

Did you know?

You can now upload your Graduate Apprenticeships here on They'll be added to our vacancy search, and pushed out to My World of Work, Adzuna and Universal Jobmatch too.

The story so far

It's only the start for Graduate Apprenticeships. But the employers taking part can already see the benefits. Here's what they had to say.

Ian MacDonald, contracts manager, Morgan Sindall

'Graduate Apprenticeships have the potential to develop well-rounded individuals who are both academically and professionally qualified, with the skills to advance in a career.'

A group of Graduate Level Apprenticeships at the University of the Highlands and Islands stand in a civil engineering classroom

Maggie Morrison, public sector Scotland director, CGI

'Our commitment to graduate apprenticeships reflects their potential in offering an innovative new route into the industry.'

Software development GAs at CGI and Glasgow Caledonian

We asked CGI, Glasgow Caledonian and Graduate Apprentices about their experiences so far on the course, and on the job.

Graduate Level Apprentice Bethany stands at the sea front in Thurso

Bethany, civil engineering GA, Balfour Beatty

'My apprenticeship has given me a starting point which will help me through my journey for a lifetime. It's given me such confidence.'

Scottish Power Head of Learning and Development Eileen Harper in a hard hat and high-vis jacket on a construction site

Diversity is good for business

We want to ensure that apprenticeships are accessible. The benefit for you? A more diverse workforce is good for business. Plus, the funding contribution for disabled people and care experienced young people is at the highest level from ages 16 up to and including 29. 

Inclusive recruitment guides

Our short guides give you practical and often low-cost or free measures to source, attract and retain apprentices or employees you might have otherwise overlooked or failed to entice. We’ll offer tips on how you can widen your search for candidates and ensure your selection process is fair to all applicants.

Download the guides

You might also be interested in...

Modern Apprenticeships

There are more than 80 types of Modern Apprenticeship. Find the one that suits your business.

Take on a Modern Apprentice

Foundation Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships now let you build closer links with local schools – and start developing the workforce of the future.

Find out more

The apprenticeship levy

Employers with a wage bill of more than £3 million now pay an apprenticeship levy.

The levy is aimed at funding new apprenticeships across the UK.

About the levy


Skills Development Scotland is delivering Graduate Apprenticeships with support from the European Social Fund

European Union and Scottish flags. European Social Fund. Investing in a smart, sustainable and inclusive future.

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