A Modern Apprenticeship is a job which lets people earn a wage and gain an industry-recognised qualification. For employers, modern apprenticeships help develop their workforce by training new staff, and upskilling existing employees.


Earn while you learn 

Modern Apprenticeships combine a qualification with on-the-job experience. This lets people work, learn and earn at the same time. We contribute towards the costs of their training, through a training provider who works with the business.


There are over 80 Modern Apprenticeship frameworks – from healthcare and financial services to construction and IT. These have been developed by sector skills councils, in consultation with their industry.

This means that MAs can build valuable work experience from day one and gain an accredited qualification which is recognised by industry. They’ll develop skills and expertise for their current and future jobs. Modern Apprenticeships are available at four different levels, some equivalent to a degree.

The impact: 92% of MAs stay in work once they’re qualified*

Modern Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to enhance Scotland’s work-based learning system and reduce youth unemployment.

Employers who’ve taken on MAs are positive about the experience: 96% say those who’ve undertook a Modern Apprenticeship are more able to do their job. They also praised MAs for improving productivity, staff morale, and service and product quality.

Modern Apprentices are also enthusiastic about their achievements – 96% would recommend an MA to other people and, in an SDS Wellbeing survey, MAs report higher levels of satisfaction, happiness and feeling their life is worthwhile compared to the general population

Modern Apprenticeships provide an alternative route into the world of work, equipping people and employers with the skills they need to succeed.

*Six months after completing a Modern Apprenticeship

Equality matters

We’re working with our partners to ensure industry can make Modern Apprenticeships more accessible. We’re finding ways to increase participation and promote gender equality across National Training Programmes.

Download the latest progress report for the equalities action plan for Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland. 

Employers can also gain support on how to recruit and retain staff through our online Guide to Inclusive Recruitment


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

Learning providers can find out more about Modern Apprenticeships in our dedicated learning provider resource section.

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


Lights, camera, action... our spotlight on apprenticeships

What does an apprentice look like?

Apprenticeships are for everyone. They're about finding the right careers for our young people whatever their age, gender or background. We want their skills to grow with our economy.

Monisha on Foundation Apprenticeships

Monisha reveals how doing a Foundation Apprenticeship in financial services is preparing her for the world of work and a possible Modern Apprenticeship.

Build new lives in Scotland

Beyar and Ibrahim both arrived in Scotland as children. A love of working with their hands has led them to do apprenticeships in construction.

How to build a girl

The Construction Industry Training Board is encouraging schoolgirls into the industry

Shipshape for the future

Danny Logue, Director of Operations at Skills Development Scotland, meets Laura Black at BAE Systems to talk apprenticeships in shipbuilding.

Careers in digital media

Damien Yeates, CEO of Skills Development Scotland, visits NS Design in Glasgow to find out how effective a Modern Apprenticeship is for starting your career in Digital Media.

Zoom into work

On Day 2 of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016, GTG Training hosted an open day at their centre in Glasgow to showcase their business and facilities, explain automotive apprenticeships on offer and encourage more young people to apply.

Carve out a career

Glasgow Traditional Building Forum event on Day 1 of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016 offered an opportunity for young people to try out traditional building skills, such as bricklaying, stain glass, stone carving.

Benefits of taking on apprentices

AXA Finance hosted an event for employers to showcase the benefits that apprenticeships bring to business. Employers from all levels heard from the apprentices about why the programme works for them.

Skills Development Scotland board member Willie Mackie turns apprentice for the day

The Ayrshire College chair tries his hand at riveting as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2016.