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Scotland’s Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP became a Software Development Apprentice for the Day as he spent time hearing from two IT Foundation Apprentices in Edinburgh.

Mr Swinney, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, became the latest to take part in Skills Development Scotland’s Apprentice for the Day challenge.

The MSP-backed initiative aims to raise further awareness of the contribution apprentices make to the Scottish economy.

work-based learning

Mr Swinney met with Edinburgh College Foundation Apprentices Douglas Greig and Michael Christopher Allan.

Both senior school pupils are in the second year of their Software Development Foundation Apprenticeship, run in partnership with Microsoft and Skills Development Scotland.

Available to senior school pupils, Foundation Apprenticeships provide time spent out of the classroom with a learning provider and experience in a work environment.

Completion leads to a qualification at the same level as a Higher, to progress into work including Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships as well as being recognised for entry into colleges and universities across Scotland.

Nationwide backing for challenge

Across Scotland, MSPs from all parties have become Apprentices for the Day, visiting employers from a range of sectors and working alongside some of the country’s talented apprentices.

The challenge provides an insight into the experience of an apprentice and the value apprenticeships bring to business.

Gaining a wide range of skills

Douglas and Michael, both S6 pupils at Dalkeith High School, spend one day a week learning with lecturers at the College’s Granton Campus and one day working with the Microsoft’s team at its Waverley Gate offices in the capital.

Throughout the two-year apprenticeship, Douglas and Michael study a wide range of topics including: developing computing applications; authoring a website; health and safety in IT; defining customer requirements for IT & telecoms systems; data modelling and games development.

Douglas Greig said: “I’m really grateful to have had the opportunity to study a Foundation Apprenticeship through Edinburgh College and Microsoft. The opportunity to gain real work experience while getting an introduction into a career I’m already passionate about is amazing and is something that would not have been possible to do within school.”

More information

To find out more about Foundation Apprenticeships log on to

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