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Skills Development Scotland brought universities and colleges from across Scotland together at an event aimed to support the growth and success of Graduate Apprenticeships (GAs).

Sharing best practice

The Communities of Leadership and Practice (CoLP) in Work-Based Learning workshop supported professionals across the learning providers to share best practice in their work to engage with employers, develop strong partnerships and successfully recruit and induct learners into their respective GA programmes.

Existing and prospective GA learning providers attended the event at Edinburgh Napier University’s Merchiston campus.

Developing employer partnerships

Graduate Apprenticeships let people work, learn and earn, studying towards a degree with an associated university or college while in full-time employment.

This year, 12 different types of Graduate Apprenticeships will be offered by 14 universities and colleges across Scotland. More employers, universities and colleges are expected to get involved across all Graduate Apprenticeship frameworks as part of an expanded programme for 2019.

Sessions at the workshop enabled delegates to learn from others on how universities and colleges attract and work in partnership with employers to deliver Graduate Apprenticeships.


Employer insight

Duncan Mann, Global HR Director of apprentice employer KAL ATM Software also provided an employer’s perspective on effective employer engagement.

Based in Edinburgh, KAL is the world’s leading privately held ATM software company and was one of the first employers to take on Graduate Apprentices through Edinburgh Napier University. The business plans to take on more GAs as part of its workforce development and succession planning.

Duncan said: “The business was struggling with recruitment and needed to think about different ways it could attract talent.

“Previously, anyone who was employed at KAL as a software engineer needed to have a degree. Graduate Apprenticeships offered us a pipeline of people who would be working with us for four years and then hopefully stay on when they completed their apprenticeship.

“The way Graduate Apprenticeships were being delivered really fitted in with our business model, as the set schedule and programme of learning at University meant we could assign apprentices to projects with a level of work that matched the pace of their learning.

“We also value the partnership approach to delivering the apprenticeships, which enables us, the university and the apprentice to be open and honest with each other throughout the process.”

Graduate Apprenticeships have been developed by SDS with support from the European Social Fund. They are backed by employers, universities, colleges and schools across the country.


More information

To find out more about Graduate Apprenticeships and work-based learning in Scotland, head to

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