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Latest research shows that young people are learning the skills they need for the world of work through Foundation Apprenticeships.  

Following research conducted by Skills Development Scotland, Foundation Apprentices at SCQF Level 6 have reported developing a range of improved skills that employers look for. 

95% reported improved communication skills

87% reported improved problem-solving skills

80% reported improved level of creativity

All of these attributes, or ‘meta skills’, are recognised as being vital in enabling individuals to be able to flourish in the workplace and also to adapt in an ever-changing work environment.  

Foundation Apprenticeships have been developed by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with industry and offer secondary school pupils industry insight and experience. 

Taken over one or two years by senior phase school pupils as a subject alongside Nationals and Highers, completion of a Foundation Apprenticeship at SCQF Level 6 leads to an equivalent qualification to a Scottish Higher.  

Foundation Apprenticeships provide work-based learning opportunities for young people, supporting skills demands from employers and creating a pipeline of fresh talent into critical occupations for the Scottish economy.   

Recognised by all Scottish universities and colleges, Foundation Apprenticeships support progression on to a job, such as a Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship, or on to further and higher education.  

The research was conducted with pupils who chose a Foundation Apprenticeship over the past two years. 

The results from the survey also revealed that 86% of Foundation Apprentices would happily recommend an apprenticeship to a friend or family member.  

The purpose of the research was to capture insight and a better understanding about the ongoing development of Foundation Apprenticeships. 

Despite the challenges faced by education, learners and employers during COVID-19, the overall levels of satisfaction and skills development outcomes remained positive, which strongly indicates that schools and learning providers adapted well to adaptations and enhancements made to the delivery of the apprenticeships during the pandemic. 

Foundation Apprenticeships create a talent pipeline into businesses and create clear pathways for young people into important roles for the Scottish economy.

Director of Critical Skills and Occupations, Diane Greenlees

Despite the challenges faced by education, learners and employers during COVID-19, the overall levels of satisfaction and skills development outcomes remained positive, which strongly indicates that schools and learning providers adapted well to adaptations and enhancements made to the delivery of the apprenticeships during the pandemic. 

Skills Development Scotland Director of Critical Skills and Occupations, Diane Greenlees said: “Foundation Apprenticeships create a talent pipeline into businesses and create clear pathways for young people into important roles for the Scottish economy.  

“Over the last year, Skills Development Scotland worked closely with SQA, sector skills councils, learning providers, employers and education partners to make adaptations and enhancements to Foundation Apprenticeships ensuring that they  continue to offer young people a qualification with authentic industry experience.”

Foundation Apprenticeships are delivered in partnership with the Scottish Funding Council, who have confirmed allocations to colleges.  

The funding body announced £16.2 million for work-based apprenticeship programmes.   

This will fund over 3,160 Foundation Apprenticeships at colleges for senior phase school pupils, to meet the collective ambition of 5,000 FA opportunities in AY 2021-22, through colleges, local authorities and independent learning providers.  

The finance was part of an overall package of £1.9billion for further and higher education which also covered 1,370 Graduate Apprenticeship places at universities.

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

In a recent Employer Benefits Survey, an impressive 87 per cent of businesses said their Graduate Apprenticeship programme had improved workforce sustainability while 100 per cent of employers would recommend Graduate Apprentices to their industry. 

A Scientific Technologies Foundation Apprenticeship was the perfect career experiment for Annabel Stewart, landing her a job after school. 

The 18-year-old chose a Foundation Apprenticeship as a subject choice as she was unsure what she wanted to do after school.  

Working at Charles River Laboratories’ base in East Lothian, Annabel assisted with the lab work and data compilation for real-life agrochemical studies using different soil types.  

On leaving Dunbar Grammar School Annabel landed a job at Charles River and is set to start a Life Sciences Modern Apprenticeship in September, which will enable her to accelerate her career within the company.  

Annabel said: “The Foundation Apprenticeship was a fantastic opportunity to gain scientific experience in the real world, as well as the classroom. 

“I’m on the Progression Scheme at Charles River. I really enjoyed my Foundation Apprenticeship and a Modern Apprenticeship will allow me to continue working here while gaining a qualification, which will open doors for me later in my career.”  

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