MORE young people across Scotland will get the opportunity to gain work-based learning qualifications at school through the expansion of a pilot programme of Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Levels 4 and 5.

Skills Development Scotland and the SQA are working with selected learning providers across the country who will be offering S3 to S6 pupils in partner schools the chance to gain both personal development and accredited skills in a work-based context.

Skills Development Scotland currently delivers Foundation Apprenticeships in schools across all 32 local authorities at SCQF Level 6. 

One of the ways identified by the Scottish Government to improve Scotland’s productivity and meet future skills challenges is by extending work-based learning to all levels (SCQF levels 4-11) through apprenticeships.

In its work to address this, SDS looked at a vocational offer in schools that created closer links with employers.  

The pilot programme of SCQF Level 4 and 5 Foundation Apprenticeships enables young people to achieve a work-based learning qualification at an earlier stage in their learning.

The pilot is part of the development to extend the reach of the Foundation Apprenticeship offer of the future.

Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Levels 4 and 5 aim to enable individuals to identify and develop meta-skills such as communication, creativity and self-management that can contribute to work readiness and create high performing employees.

The programme is also enabling employers to make a structured contribution to school learning by providing real life work-based situations that add value to learning and provides a pathway that articulates to other work-based qualifications available in the Senior Phase and beyond, such as Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships.

A pilot model, which commenced from this academic year, will be resourced in partnership with schools, employers and learning providers to provide expertise, knowledge and work-based learning.

Learning providers will deliver opportunities across Automotive Skills, Hospitality and Construction in either an existing Skills for Work or a National Progression Award.

An innovative aspect of this pilot model is the inclusion of a Work-based Challenge Unit, with pupils working in teams with a local employer to design, develop and deliver a project whereby learners identify and deploy their meta-skills alongside the technical skills required by the project.

Fife College is one of the sixteen learning providers that has begun the delivery of the SCQF Level 4 and 5 Foundation Apprenticeships pilot to S3 to S6 school pupils across the Fife region. 

With over 60 places being offered across construction, hospitality and automotive, pupils will be working in teams with a local employer to design, develop and deliver a project. 

The hope is that these new qualifications can help extend the work-readiness of those taking part and help meet the future skills challenges facing Scotland.

Iain Hawker, Assistant Principal: Quality and Academic Partnerships at Fife College, said: “We’re really pleased to be working with Skills Development Scotland and Fife Council to deliver these two new levels of Foundation Apprenticeships. 

“We’ve already helped hundreds of school pupils through our existing Level 6 Foundation Apprenticeship scheme in partnership with Fife Council, and these new qualifications will enable us to offer a similar opportunity at an earlier level of learning to those interested.

“As part of a DYW Fife portfolio of qualifications, schools pupils throughout Fife now have more brilliant opportunities available to them to gain real work-based learning experience and help them develop skills that will lead to a future career in these areas.”

According to the college, demand from Fife pupils to participate in the pilot has been high. Iain Hawker said: “What these allow young people to do, particularly in S3 and S4, is enable them to engage with employers at an early stage so they can build these meta skills and wider skills as part of their school studies timetable. 

“By the time they go on to study in S4, S5 and S6 and potentially go on to their Level 6 apprenticeships, the number of work opportunities will hopefully have increased by that time. 

“As pupils move into the workforce to look for a job, what the qualifications do is add experience and engagement with employers.

“It’s testing the water for them working with those employers and making that transition from education, whether it’s on to further study at college or university or directly into the workplace.

“It makes that transition easier for them and they’ve had all that involvement with employers while they are still at school.

“Given the current economic climate it’s important we do all we can to meet the future skill needs of Scotland, and these qualifications are an important step in helping us to achieve this.”

SDS Director of Critical Skills and Occupations, Diane Greenlees said: “Foundation Apprenticeships are creating more confident young people with the critical skills and relevant qualifications for the workplace.

“SDS is committed to working with SQA and partners to widen opportunities for more young people to benefit from Work-based Learning and bring education and employers closer together.

“The pilot programme offering Work-based Learning in schools at SCQF Levels 4 and 5 focuses on developing meta-skills that are both personal and practical and contribute to work readiness and our ambition is to create a final model that will be embedded into the Scottish school curriculum.”

SQA Director of Qualifications Development, Dr Gill Stewart said “SQA welcomes the opportunity to undertake this partnership work with SDS to pilot meta-skills in Foundation Apprenticeships.

“This type of collaboration is at the core of our future qualifications development which will involve a greater emphasis on meta-skills and opportunities for work-based learning. 

“This will enable us to support young people prepare for their career and provide career development opportunities for those already in employment.”

  • For more information on Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Levels 4, 5 and 6 visit apprenticeships.scot

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Apprenticeships shore up skills across Scotland

MORE people than ever before are choosing work-based learning to get a job and get qualified up to degree level with Graduate Apprenticeships.

Latest figures show the number of businesses employing Graduate Apprentices has more than trebled in the past three years, while four times as many individuals have started a Graduate Apprenticeship.  

HeraldScotland:

Scotland’s 2019 Apprentice of the Year, Jordan Fairlamb is a Graduate Apprentice withDawnfresh Seafoods

 

The last financial year saw 1,160 apprentices working with 506 employers and 15 higher education institutions across 13 Graduate Apprenticeship frameworks. 

Developed by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with industry and the further and higher education sectors, Graduate Apprenticeships provide work-based learning opportunities up to Master’s degree level. 

They provide businesses with access to high-level skills and offer a new route for people to gain degree-level, industry recognised qualifications backed by leading universities across Scotland. 

Graduate Apprentices typically spend the majority of their time with their employer and the rest learning via their university.
Subject areas range from accountancy to cyber-security and from civil engineering to data science.

Graduate Apprenticeships are also making higher education more accessible for individuals, with an increased number of BAME participants and people who have a disability. 

The figures are part of the latest progress report on Graduate Apprenticeships published by Skills Development Scotland. Responding to the report, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills Jamie Hepburn said: “Graduate Apprenticeships offer a unique learning opportunity, providing a blend of academic and work-based learning for employees, enabling them to up-skill or re-skill while in paid employment. 

“Apprenticeships are training and up-skilling workers in key occupational growth areas. They are providing a critical pipeline of talent that will support our recovery and growth of Scotland’s economy as we work to rebuild from coronavirus (COVID-19).”

Chair of Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Frank Mitchell, said: “Scottish Apprenticeships and work-based learning have never been more vital than during this period of recovery and renewal. 

More than 2,000 people have now accessed industry-relevant degrees through Graduate Apprenticeships, bringing fresh talent and critical skills to hundreds of employers across every local authority area in Scotland. SDS will continue to work with the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board and our industry partners to drive the development of Graduate Apprenticeships and ensure they remain available in the critical occupational growth areas of the Scottish economy.”

More employers than ever are now using Graduate Apprenticeships to realise business benefits such as addressing critical skills gaps, driving innovation and increasing productivity and retention. 

HR Director at Dawnfresh Seafoods and member of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board, Helen Muir, said: “Graduate Apprenticeships are a strategic way to develop our future leaders and gain skills that are vital to the success of our business.  

“By gaining commercial awareness alongside academic qualifications, our Graduate Apprentices have made a valuable, quantifiable difference to the organisation. 

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the food and drink industry has proven that its people are resilient, innovative and committed to delivering great products. We in turn are committed to providing sustainable development opportunities for our employees – including through continued support for Graduate Apprenticeships and the tremendous value they bring.” 

  • Graduate Apprenticeships are supported by the European Social Fund. For more information visit apprenticeships.scot