Graduate Level 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 Level 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.

  • Four courses available now, with more planned during 2017

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

How it works

A Graduate Level 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. 

Five simple steps to recruit a GLA

  • 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 GLA?

The employee must be resident in Scotland at the start of their Graduate Level 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 GLA if it leads to a higher level of qualification or it's in a different subject.

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

More questions?

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

Building the future of Graduate Level 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 Level Apprenticeships.  

Scottish Ministers are committed to increasing the number of Modern Apprentices, including Graduate Level 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 Level Apprenticeships will become an embedded part of Scotland’s skills landscape by 2020 and beyond.

What's on offer?

There are four courses available now, with more to follow later in 2017. Our university and college delivery partners include University of the Highlands and Islands, Glasgow Caledonian University, Robert Gordon University, Glasgow Kelvin College, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh Napier University, University of the West of Scotland, the University of Strathclyde and the University of Dundee. Find out more about each of the courses – and who to contact – through the links below.

IT: Software Development (SCQF level 10)

Develop employees with the right skills in jobs like software development, software testing, web development, or database architecture and development.

IT: Software Development (1)

IT: Management for Business (SCQF level 10)

A qualification for employees working in IT consultancy, system operation, system management, network planning and control or project management.

IT: Management for Business

Civil Engineering (SCQF level 8)

A qualification designed to support employees working as civil engineering technicians or construction supervisors, to help them to progress.

Civil Engineering (1)

Engineering: Design and Manufacture (SCQF level 10)

A qualification for employees working in engineering design, manufacturing engineering, consultancy, operations management, and project management.

Engineering: Design and Manufacture

Did you know?

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

What's next?

We're currently working with employers, industry and universities and colleges to develop the next set of Graduate Level Apprenticeships. Look out for the following courses in late 2017:

  • Engineering: Instrumentation, Measurement and Control (SCQF level 10)
  • Business Management: Financial Services (SCQF level 10)
  • Civil Engineering (SCQF level 10)
  • Construction: Built Environment (SCQF level 10)
  • IT: Cyber Security (SCQF level 10)
  • IT: Cyber Security (SCQF level 11)
  • Business Management (SCQF level 10)

The story so far

It's only the start for Graduate Level 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 Level 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 GLAs at CGI and Glasgow Caledonian

We asked CGI, Glasgow Caledonian and Graduate Level 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 GLA, 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

Apprenticeships are for everyone

It can just take simple adjustments to make your workplace more accessible. The benefit for you? A more diverse workforce is good for business.

On Our Skillsforce, you'll find the information you need.

Why diversity is good for business 

Equality toolkit for employers 

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 Level 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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