Apprenticeships: what’s happening in Scotland?

Mar 3, 2018 | Apprentices & school leaver

To mark National Apprenticeship Week, Mairi Rule takes us behind the scenes of the new Graduate Apprenticeship programme at Skills Development Scotland.

As Service Development Manager, I am responsible for the development of new Graduate Apprenticeship frameworks, the procurement of graduate apprenticeship delivery, the management of day-to-day operational activity associated with the programme as well as aspects of future strategy development.  

Prior to being involved in establishing the Graduate Apprenticeship programme, I was working within the wider Service Design and Innovation directorate, across a range of innovative digital projects. 

Graduate Apprenticeships build on the success of Skills Development Scotland’s existing family of Foundation and Modern Apprenticeships, giving individuals a chance to be in paid employment while gaining qualifications up to Master’s degree level. 

When I was given the opportunity to help lead the development of Graduate Apprenticeships I was excited by the opportunities it would offer to employers and individuals across Scotland.

We are creating new pathways into learning and work that allow people to fulfil their career aspirations by learning from real life work experience.

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is working with the universities and colleges who are delivering the courses. 

Part of our work within the team involves employer engagement and building awareness of the different types of apprenticeships and their benefits to business. 

It is great to get an understanding of the skills employers need to grow their organisations and seeing this reflected in the way our partners are designing their courses, with the employee and employer right at the heart of learning.

Graduate Apprenticeships offer employers an alternative way to attract new talent, access a wider and more diverse talent pool and are a great way to retain existing employees – not to mention the ability to plan for the skills they will require in the future. 

I think the biggest benefit is definitely that the learning undertaken is directly relevant to the job, so new hires can add value to the business right away. 

For individuals, they gain a degree whilst in full time paid employment, their learning is contextualised and can be directly applied and it is the chance for them to gain industry recognised skills designed by employers across the country. 

This year, twelve universities and colleges will be delivering Graduate Apprenticeships across nine subjects and three SCQF levels.  It is fantastic to see how fast the programme is growing, offering more individuals an alternative way to work, learn and earn. 

To any employers looking to get involved in apprenticeships, I would say, visit our website

 Finally my top three tips for interested employers would be:

  • Secure your places with a university partner early
  • Become familiar with our framework documents and employer FAQs located on our website
  • Use the site to upload your graduate apprenticeship vacancies
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