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Young carer Lara helping herself through a Foundation Apprenticeship

Apprenticeships Work-based learning Foundation apprenticeships

An apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare provided young carer Lara Henderson with excellent grounding to begin studying for her degree in psychology.

Lara is a carer for her younger sister and has a passion for helping people. Whilst still at school, the 18 year old from Kinross wanted to learn more about social care and she decided a Foundation Apprenticeship would be the ideal option for her.

Lara said: “I'd originally wanted to leave school at 16, but I discussed my options with my careers adviser at Kinross High who gave me the idea to do a Foundation Apprenticeship. It meant I could stay at school, while attending Perth College on Fridays for the Foundation Apprenticeship.”

Skills for the future

During her apprenticeship, Lara completed her placement at Loch Leven Health Centre to gain real-life experience of health and social care.

Lara added: “When I finished high school and college I went to Aberdeen University, where I'm now in my first year, to study Psychology. My apprenticeship has helped with studying psychology because it covered things like the ability to see signs of abuse and how to develop better listening skills.

Lara Saa Apprentice Aberdeen

Continued Lara: “As well as being a carer for my sister who has autism, I was mental health ambassador at school and I helped children who had dyslexia to read. I like to change things and help others which made me want to be a psychologist so that I could do more professionally.”

Foundation Apprenticeships are subject choices that provide pupils with the skills employers need with a work-based learning qualification at the same level as a Higher. A pilot programme of Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Levels 4 and 5 are for S3-S6 pupils.

Vital workplace experience

Lara said: “When I was doing my Foundation Apprenticeship in Social Services and Healthcare, I learned a lot about values, standards and codes of conduct. I also developed  compassion for others as a personal skill.

“While working at Loch Leven Health Centre I learned to communicate better with the patients, some of whom struggled with hearing with everyone wearing masks. Having real-life experience really helps your work ethic.”

Lara's achievements saw her recognised in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards in the Foundation Apprentice of the Year category sponsored by the Scottish Funding Council.

Lara added: “I feel really good about being a finalist in the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards in the Foundation Apprentice category. I'm enjoying the excitement of it.”

Developing the next generation

Kim Paterson, Lecturer at Perth College and SVQ Work Based Assessor and Internal Verifier, said: “A Foundation Apprenticeship in Healthcare and Social Services enables the students to become more skilled workers. They learn about polices and procedures, legislation, theories and how to communicate in different ways. The apprenticeship promotes the person-centred care approach to enhance delivery of support to individuals. It equips students with the theory and practical skills to go out into the field of employment within the sector.”

Kim added: “Foundation Apprenticeships offer many benefits to employers through the collaborative working approach. And organisations have the potential for the workplace to gain an enthusiastic employee at the end of the apprenticeship.”

Kim said: “Lara has done really well for herself by going on to study psychology after her Foundation Apprenticeship.”

Stacy Brown, office manager at Loch Leven Health Centre in Kinross, where Lara worked as part of her Foundation Apprenticeship from autumn 2020 to August last year, explained that they take on students from the local high school to give them experience of the working environment.

Stacy said: “Lara was fantastic and very empathetic. Her confidence grew massively while she was here, both in herself and in dealing with different situations.

“Supporting the younger community is a big thing for us and Foundation Apprenticeships help us to do that. Getting involved in Foundation Apprenticeships  also supports our staff development and the existing team. Younger people are so innovative and bring fresh eyes to the practice. It's good to have a blended team of all ages."

Scottish Apprenticeship Awards

The winner of the Foundation Apprentice category sponsored by the Scottish Funding Council was revealed at the Scottish Apprenticeship Awards, organised by Skills Development Scotland. Read about the winners at

To find out how to recruit an apprentice or to take an apprenticeship visit