Expansion in school-based apprenticeships announced

Written by Tom Freeman on 17 March 2017 in News

Number of foundation apprenticeships in Scotland to rise to 5,000 by 2019 announces John Swinney

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A scheme which sees school pupils opt to do an apprenticeship instead of one of their Highers is to be expanded to include up to 5,000 young people, Education Secretary John Swinney has announced.

The Scottish Government had already indicated it would use funds from its share of funds raised from the UK Apprenticeship levy to expand the foundation apprenticeships scheme, but Swinney provided more details in his speech to SNP conference in Aberdeen.

Foundation apprenticeships, or 'pathfinders', were launched in 2015 by Skills Development Scotland, initially focusing on six priority sectors where Scotland is expected to have skills gaps: engineering, construction, energy, social services and healthcare, financial services, and children and young people. Thirteen college partners have also been involved.


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The expansion is expected to see the scheme expand from 351 starts to 5,000 by the end of 2019.

Swinney told conference the scheme built bridges between school and work.

"They are apprenticeships undertaken at school, with work-based learning, alongside academic exams. They are the chance to get a head start on a career by gaining industry-recognised qualifications, working on real projects and gaining the experience every employer looks for," he said.

“So far, this innovative approach has been small scale while this ground breaking programme was developed. 350 Foundation Apprenticeships were started in 2016.

“We will now massively expand that number. By the end of 2019, 5,000 new start Foundation Apprenticeships will be available in Scotland’s schools, raising the attainment bar in vocational education and giving all our young people equal chances and choices to succeed at school and to succeed in life.”

Skills Development Scotland chief executive Damien Yeates has said he believes the apprenticeships will be seen to have as much value as a Higher.

Speaking in response to today's announcement, Yates said: “Foundation Apprenticeships are a new and innovative way to equip young people with industry recognised qualifications and practical experience which meet industry demand and regional skills needs, both now and in the future.”

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