5 ways a Foundation Apprenticeship can set pupils up for a big future

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship is a great way for young people to get a head start on their careers while still in their final years at school.

Combining a recognized qualification, valuable experience, and industry insight, it can open doors for pupils preparing to embark on a career in some of Scotland’s most exciting and fastest-growing industries.

Here are just five ways a Foundation Apprenticeship can set pupils up for a big future –

Gain an industry-recognized qualification the same level as a Higher

Foundation Apprenticeship qualifications are designed to give school pupils insight into their chosen industry while gaining a work-based learning qualification at the same level as a Scottish Higher (SCQF 6).

Just like if they were undertaking a Higher, pupils have scheduled periods during their school timetables to participate in a Foundation Apprenticeship.

The qualification is chosen as a subject in S5 or S6 as part of their school timetable and worked towards over one or two years – during which they’ll spend time at school, with a learning provider (such as college) and with an employer.

Becca Darling completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in Accountancy during her senior phase years at Craigmount High School, Edinburgh.

Thanks to her Foundation Apprenticeship, she was offered a Modern Apprenticeship job with a leading accountancy firm after leaving school.

She said: “I would 100 per cent say this is better than going to university for me. As well as getting the same qualification as university, I will also have had practical experience in the job.

“After university, you can still struggle to get a job while I feel like I have literally been handed my dream job – it’s amazing, I love it so much.”

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Trainee accountant Becca Darling at Zen Consultants

Get experience in industries where there are jobs in demand

Choosing on a Foundation Apprenticeship will give pupils a chance to experience what goes on inside some of Scotland’s most thriving sectors including accountancy, civil engineering, creative and digital media, and technology.

The qualification is recognized in industries where there is a rising demand for a skilled workforce enabling them to step into the world of work seamlessly.

Claire Scott completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in Scientific Technologies during her senior years at Ross High School which opened her eyes to the possibility of a career within that industry.

Claire’s work placement at Charles River Laboratories near her home in East Lothian gave the 19-year-old an advantage when it came to applying for a job with the company after she left school.

She said: “I really enjoy it. I work as part of a team but also get some experience on my own. It’s very interesting and I’m always learning something new.

“The other route to this career would have been university but that’s not the way I like to work, I’m more of a hands-on person so learning on the job is perfect for me.”

Claire Scott completed a Foundation Apprenticeship in Scientific Technologies

Strengthen your skills and get the skills employers need

A Foundation Apprenticeship can strengthen skills pupils already have and give them the confidence to develop new ones that can be transferred into the world of work like problem-solving, communication, and creativity.

An impressive 95% of pupils who completed a Foundation Apprenticeship said it improved their communication skills, 93% said it improved their team working skills and 91% said it boosted their confidence.

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After gaining the qualification, 74% said they developed skills that would help them in the workplace and 72% said they strengthened their college or university application.

James Carr undertook the first year of his Foundation Apprenticeship in the school hub at Saint John Ogilvie High in Hamilton, where he learned about business.

Through working with South Lanarkshire Council, he was able to get involved with a marketing campaign to encourage 16 to 18-year-olds to vote. He’s now using his skills from him to gain an HNC in Legal Studies.

He said: “A Foundation Apprenticeship is a very good subject choice as you’re gaining a highly recognized industry qualification.

“If anyone asks me about an apprenticeship, I say ‘why are you not doing it?’ The Foundation Apprenticeship gives you a picture of what work is like. It was an excellent opportunity.”

james carr

Get a head-start on a Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship job

Pupils who complete a Foundation Apprenticeship can get a head start on a Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship job.

Around 97.1% of young people who completed a Foundation Apprenticeship are in education, training or employment, including Ayli McInnes who completed hers during her senior years at Irvine Royal Academy.

She undertook a work placement at GE Caledonian in Prestwick which gave her an invaluable insight into the job.

From there, the firm took her on as a Modern Apprentice once she’d left school.

During the three-year program Ayli, 19, will learn all aspects of the business, including stripping and building engines for cargo plans that fly around the world.

She said: ”I think this is a fast track to the career that I wanted. Not many people my age can say they have already found their job for life but I can’t see myself doing anything else now.”

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Ayli McInnes, Modern Apprentice Engineer

Boost your CV and your college or university application

A Foundation Apprenticeship qualification can help pupils stand out when it comes to applying for jobs and college or university places.

The qualification is valued by employers and recognized by all colleges and universities, meaning pupils can go straight into jobs like Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship or into further education.

Lara Henderson completed her Foundation Apprenticeship while still at school after deciding she wanted to learn more about social care.

During her apprenticeship, she gained real-life experience of health and social care which enabled her to go on to study Psychology.

Lara added: “When I finished high school and college I went to Aberdeen University, where I’m now in my first year, studying Psychology. My apprenticeship has helped with studying psychology because it covered things like the ability to see signs of abuse and how to develop better listening skills.”

Laura Henderson

Pupils, parents and carers can visit apprenticeships.scot/foundation to find out what’s available in their school and apply online.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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