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The report, found on the publications area of the Skills Development Scotland website, shows the rapid growth of Graduate Apprenticeships since they were launched nationwide in 2017. 

From the first phase in 2017/18 to 2018/19 delivery, the choice of Graduate Apprenticeship frameworks has doubled from six to 12, to meet demand.

The report also outlines: 

  • continued growth in businesses employing Graduate Apprentices to recruit or upskill their workforces – Graduate Apprenticeship employers now in all Local Authorities 
  • more education institutions offering Graduate Apprenticeships
  • an increase in uptake of over 230%
  • almost half of businesses that were engaged in the first year of delivery have taken additional Graduate Apprenticeship places in 2018/19. 

This supported a second year of delivery that saw 921 registered apprentices working with 346 employers and 13 institutions. 

Developed through collaboration

Skills Development Scotland developed Graduate Apprenticeships in partnership with industry and the further and higher education sectors to provide work-based learning opportunities up to Master’s degree level. 

Graduate Apprenticeships support sectors that have a need for highly skilled jobs and are available in subject areas including ICT/Digital, Cyber Security, Data, Civil Engineering and Business Management.  

Growth in the number of Graduate Apprenticeship starts has met the targets set by the Scottish Government, as part of SDS’s commitment to deliver 30,000 Modern and Graduate Apprenticeship starts each year by 2020/21. 

Jonathan Clark, Director of Service Design and Innovation at Skills Development Scotland said: “Our ability to deliver Graduate Apprenticeships would be impossible without strong collaboration.  

“Key influencers of individuals, including teachers, parents, carers and employers play a crucial role in enabling us to scale our full Apprenticeships offer.  

“We are working very closely with a range of partners to ensure that Graduate Apprenticeships continue to evolve and grow. 

“As we communicate the benefits of Scottish Apprenticeships with individuals, parents, and employers, our ambition over the next 10 years is to achieve significant growth with Graduate Apprenticeships. We are supported by the Scottish Government in our ambition to achieve this, with at least 1,300 new Graduate Apprenticeship opportunities available in academic year 2019/20 - our third year of delivery.” 

Backed by employers

Graduate Apprenticeships are proven to deliver tangible business benefits, including increased productivity, talent development and retention, improved service delivery and staff engagement in their own professional development. 

Pension, insurance and investment company based in Edinburgh, Aegon UK currently has five Graduate Apprentices on Management for Business, Cyber Security (SCQF level 10) and IT: Software Development and over 40 staff working towards Modern Apprenticeships in Management, Providing Financial Services and Project Management.  

Aegon UK HR Director, Gill Scott said: “Graduate Apprenticeships are a fantastic opportunity for Aegon to attract and retain talented individuals in our organisation and at the same time take advantage of the levy we pay. 

“The Graduate Apprenticeship has been designed with the needs of our industry in mind, which means that we have complete confidence that the learning they get at college or university is relevant and will enable them to contribute to our success now and in the future.” 

GA Report supporting pic Robyn Urcia

More opportunities

The report also highlights that Graduate Apprenticeships are enabling individuals to continue to benefit from work-based learning to progress in their careers, with Foundation and Modern Apprentices moving on to Graduate Apprenticeship jobs. 

Chris Gregg is a former Modern Apprentice at Scottish Water and has progressed on to a Graduate Apprenticeship in Business Management at the firm, in partnership with Napier University.  

Chris said: “There is far more opportunity when completing a Graduate Apprenticeship to put your study into real context.  

“During the short time I have been at university I have completed modules in statistics and economics. These have already helped in my job, with a large part of my role focused on report writing.” 

Women in STEM

Graduate Apprenticeships are also enabling more women to develop careers in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). 

Over the two years of delivery, there has been a growth of females taking Graduate Apprenticeship STEM frameworks, with participation ahead of the average across all Higher Education. 

More information 

Find out about the range of Graduate Apprenticeships available at 

The report includes this commentary from Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, Karen Watt, on why collaboration between education and industry through Graduate Apprenticeships is benefiting Scotland’s economy. 

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