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More pupils are accessing work-based learning at an earlier age and stage thanks to Foundation Apprenticeships. 

The latest Foundation Apprenticeships Progress Report has been published and shows their continued growth and development. 

In the last year (2020-21 Academic Year), there was an uptake of 4,240 Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Levels 6 and the pilot of SCQF Levels 4 and 5. 

For the first time, the report includes statistics and information about the pilot at SCQF Level 4 and 5, which expands work-based learning opportunities in school across more levels to support young people at different ages and stages of learning. 

The report, produced by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), highlights the adaptations and enhancements made to Foundation Apprenticeships, accelerated as a result of COVID-19, to give an authentic experience of the workplace of the future. 

Adaptations included the flexibility to gain work-based learning in an online setting to support current hybrid working practices.   

There was also focus on the achievement of meta-skills through the latest enhancements at SCQF Level 6.

The Foundation Apprenticeship learner research was included to demonstrate that they boost vital skills for life and work including confidence, communication, problem solving and organisation. 

The document highlighted research from employers too, reporting that Foundation Apprenticeships bring new knowledge and skills to their businesses and improve their sector’s image with young people. 

The report also demonstrates that SCQF Level 4 and 5 subjects are giving young people from diverse backgrounds more access and opportunities to gain work-based learning qualifications at school. 

Statistics in the report show that pupils taking the SCQF Level 4 and 5 qualification are more likely to be from the more deprived areas whilst those on a Foundation Apprenticeship at SCQF Level 6 are more likely to be from less deprived areas. 

The publication outlines the work delivered by SDS in close collaboration with SQA, sector skills councils, learning providers, employers and local authorities from the end of the Academic Year 2019/20 to accelerate adaptations to SCQF Level 6 to support delivery during the restrictions posed by the pandemic. 

Director of SDS Critical Skills and Occupations, Diane Greenlees said: “At the onset of the pandemic SDS worked closely with our partners to ensure that Foundation Apprentices could continue to progress and achieve.  

“As a result, Foundation Apprenticeships remain a vital option in the school curriculum, offering young people a high quality of work-based learning that leads to qualifications recognised by employers, colleges and universities.” 

Director of SDS Critical Skills and Occupations, Diane Greenlees

Foundation Apprenticeships remain a vital option in the school curriculum, offering young people a high quality of work-based learning that leads to qualifications recognised by employers, colleges and universities.

Looking ahead, Scottish Government has already committed to fund 5000 more opportunities in Academic Year 2021-22 across all three SCQF levels. 

Foundation Apprenticeships support a number of priorities identified by the Scottish Government in tackling economic recovery and future skills needs. 

In particular, they align with the Young Person’s Guarantee through their ability to support post school pathways to further learning or apprenticeships. 

Foundation Apprenticeship subjects also support the drive for digital skills and green jobs and support sectors with skills gaps such as social care. 

Furthermore, their relevance is reinforced through our work with partners in response to the Youth Guarantee – No-one Left Behind Initial Report to launch a comprehensive review of careers services in Scotland, which focuses on the pillars of Self, Strengths, Horizons and Networks. 

Minister for Higher Education and Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, Jamie Hepburn MSP said: “Foundation Apprenticeships have proved their value in the face of the challenges presented by the pandemic by continuing to provide young people with vital skills and qualifications that support the Scottish Government’s ambition for economic recovery and growth.  

“A successful recovery must be led by education and skills. We must ensure that no one is left behind and that’s why the Scottish Government is focusing heavily on employability and skills, to make sure that our workforce is trained and ready to take on the jobs of the future. Foundation Apprenticeships are a critical offer in the curriculum, as we focus on ensuring young people have the right skills and experience for the world of work.” 

SDS Chair, Frank Mitchell said: “Not only do Foundation Apprenticeships provide an unrivalled early talent pipeline that employers need, they are an integral and critical component in supporting Scotland’s economic recovery. 

“As a nation we should be striving for work-based learning to be an entitlement for every learner to ensure the best possible outcomes for young people and the economy.” 

The Foundation Apprenticeships Progress Report 2020-21 

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