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

Supporting employers to develop the skills of their workforce

Graduate Level Apprenticeships provide work-based learning opportunities up to Master’s degree level for 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?

Graduate Level 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.

"Participating employers design academic study to their industry needs, so as well as delivering quicker and better returns in productivity they can also aid recruitment, retention and succession planning."

Diane Greenlees, Head of Foundation and Graduate Level Apprenticeships, SDS

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 the scheme are able to 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 (SCQF level 8) to a Master’s degree (SCQF level 11).

The apprenticeships are part funded by participating employers, which means they are only available to their employees.

"As a company committed to developing its workforce Morgan Sindall is delighted to be part of the first phase of Graduate Level Apprenticeships, which carry on the earn-as-you-learn concept. Because it’s tailored to our business’s needs it has the potential to develop well-rounded individuals who are both academically and professionally qualified, with the skills to advance in a career in civil engineering."

Ian MacDonald, Contracts Manager, Morgan Sindall

When will they be available?

By the end of 2017, nine of Scotland’s universities and colleges will be delivering Graduate Level Apprenticeships. The focus will initially include four subject areas covering ICT/Digital, Civil Engineering and Engineering.

As they develop we’ll look to extend partnerships with existing providers and work with new providers to deliver more GLAs.

We’ll also work with employers, universities and industry experts to expand courses into new sectors throughout 2018. These include: Business Management, Cyber Security and additional Engineering and Construction frameworks.

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 Level Apprenticeships.

Scottish Ministers are committed to increasing the number of Modern Apprentices, including Graduate Level 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 Level Apprenticeships will become an embedded part of Scotland’s skills landscape by 2020 and beyond.

"Graduate Level Apprenticeships provide a structured development framework with qualification goals ahead. These goals can only be achieved through continuously increasing their contribution and value to the businesses for which they work."

Steven Robertson, Divisional Director, Mott MacDonald

Want to know more?

Visit apprenticeships.scot to find more on what's available and how to get involved. 

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

European Union and Scottish flags. European Social Fund. Investing in a smart, sustainable and inclusive future.European Union and Scottish flags. European Social Fund. Investing in a smart, sustainable and inclusive future.