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Graduate Apprenticeships

Graduate Apprenticeships provide work-based learning opportunities up to Master’s degree level for new and existing employees.

They have been created in partnership with industry and the further and higher education sector.

The apprenticeships combine academic knowledge with skills development to enable participants to become more effective and productive in the workplace.

Why have they been developed?

International experience demonstrates how degree-level apprenticeships can drive economic growth. We believe this approach can benefit the Scottish economy.

Graduate Apprenticeships provide a new way into degree-level study for individuals who are currently employed, or who want to go straight into work.

Employees can equip themselves with higher levels of academic learning and industry accreditation, which helps them progress as professionals.

By investing in their staff through the apprenticeships, employers can develop their workforce and support staff to develop their skills to industry and professional standards.

And because they are designed around the needs of industry, employers will have confidence that what their staff are learning at college or university will directly contribute to the success of the business.

Graduate Apprenticeships are a great opportunity for us to attract & retain talented individuals in Aegon & take advantage of the levy we pay. The Graduate Apprenticeship has been designed with the needs of our industry in mind, so we've 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.

Gill Scott

Aegon UK HR Director

How will individuals benefit?

As they are in continuing employment apprentices can directly apply their academic learning to real-life situations, all the while earning a good salary.

Individuals who participate in Graduate Apprenticeships can access the same learning opportunities as those who go down the traditional route of direct entry into college or university.

Apprentices can progress to the highest level of professional qualifications with a range of entry and exit points from a Higher National Diploma (Higher Apprenticeships at SCQF level 8) to a Master’s degree (SCQF level 11).

The learning costs are fully funded by SDS and supported by European Social Fund.

Graduate Apprenticeships are a welcome addition to the choice we are now able to offer learners and it is encouraging to see it being taken up in growing numbers by universities, businesses and individuals.

Karen Watt

Chief Executive, Scottish Funding Council

What is available?

At the end of 2019, fourteen of Scotland’s universities and colleges are delivering Higher and Graduate Apprenticeships, in 14 subject areas covering sectors including ICT/Digital, Cyber Security, Data Science, Civil Engineering, Engineering, Construction and Business.

Demand for Graduate Apprenticeships is increasing year on year with an increasing number of Scottish employers using work-based learning to meet their critical skills needs.

Diane Greenlees

SDS Director of Critical Skills and Occupations

Long-term commitment

Following on from the recent consultation on the apprenticeship levy, Scottish Government has reaffirmed its committed to the expansion of work-based learning opportunities through Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships.

Graduate Apprenticeships support the Scottish Government’s Future Skills Action Plan by offering upskilling and reskilling work-based learning opportunities.

Scottish Ministers are committed to increasing the number of Modern Apprentices, including Graduate Apprentices to 30,000 by 2020, and have expressed their strong support for the expansion of Foundation Apprenticeships, as an important part of its Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) youth employment strategy.

Scottish Government, SDS and its partners understand the level of investment and commitment needed to meet the scale of ambition. SDS is confident that, by working with industry, employers, FE colleges and universities, Graduate Apprenticeships will become an embedded part of Scotland’s skills landscape by 2020 and beyond.

Our Graduate Apprenticeship programme is critical to ensuring that Balfour Beatty leaves a sustainable lasting legacy through our projects across Scotland.

Hector MacAulay

Balfour Beatty Managing Director

Find out more about apprenticeships

Visit, our online service for Scottish Apprenticeships, for information on becoming an apprentice and taking on an apprentice.

Training providers can find out more about Graduate Apprenticeships in our dedicated training provider resource section.

Skills Development Scotland is delivering Graduate Apprenticeships with support from the European Social Fund.