What is an apprenticeship?
To get your career started you usually need a combination of experience and qualifications. An apprenticeship gives you both by combining on the job training with study (usually one day a week) meaning you can earn while you learn. With some apprenticeships, you can even get a degree.
It usually takes between one and four years to complete an apprenticeship depending on which level you take. Apprenticeships are available across a wide range of industries and many high quality, prestigious companies offer them.
If you have no work experience on your CV, or if you’d like to get a taster of a particular job or industry, you might like to consider work experience or an employability programme first.
What are the advantages of an apprenticeship?
One of the main advantages of completing an apprenticeship is that you get to earn a wage as you train. You also gain invaluable experience and skills as you go along and eventually gain a recognised SQA qualification.
The training you receive is designed with employers and industry in mind, meaning your training is directly linked to the world of work. You also get the chance to apply your knowledge in a practical way instead of just theoretical.
Which apprenticeship is right for you?
You can choose a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subject selections in S5 or S6. It's a qualification, over 1 or 2 years, that lets you gain work experience in one of Scotland's 12 growth industries:
- Business Skills
- Civil Engineering
- Creative and Digital Media
- Food and Drink Technologies
- Hardware and System Support
- Scientific Technologies
- Social Services – children and young people
- Social Services and Healthcare
- Software Development
- Foundation apprenticeships are great because they can fit in with your other senior subjects. You spend one day or two half days a week working with a local employer, learning the skills that you will need in your future career, wherever that takes you.
- It is the same level as a Higher (SCQF 6). The only difference is that students are assessed as they go so there is no final exam.
- It counts as an entry requirement for University and College in Scotland. It also really helps to make your personal statement stand out.
- It gives students a great insight into a particular industry and can sometimes be used to fast track part of a modern or graduate apprenticeship.
Modern Apprenticeships allow you to learn the skills you need whilst on the job. Because Modern Apprentices are employees, this means you earn a wage as you complete your apprenticeship. You get the experience employers are looking for – from skills for work, to things like timekeeping, taking responsibility and teamwork. It’s a great alternative to full-time College or University. By learning on the job, you get to put your skills to the test right away.
Modern apprenticeships are run as a partnership between an employer, a local training provider and Skills Development Scotland. They have three basic components:
- a relevant qualification (SCQF 5 to 11)
- core skills
- industry specific training
Training usually takes place in the workplace but there may be off-the-job learning at a training centre or college too.
There are over 80 types of modern apprenticeships across hundreds of jobs so you’re bound to be able to find one that suits you! You may have thought that some of these careers required you to go to University, so why not consider a Modern Apprenticeship instead?
Accounting | Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance | Active Leisure, Learning and Wellbeing | Agriculture | Aquaculture | Automotive | Banking | Bus and Coach Engineering and Maintenance | Business and Administration | Care Service | Leadership and Management | Childhood Practice | Construction: Building | Construction: Civil Engineering | Construction: Professional Apprenticeship | Construction: Specialist | Construction: Technical | Court and Tribunal Operations | Creative and Digital Media | Customer Service | Dental Nursing | Digital Marketing | Electrical Installation | Electronic Security Systems | Engineering | Engineering Construction | Extractive and Mineral Processing | Facilities Services | Management | Fashion and Textiles Heritage | Food and Drink Operations | Freight Logistics | Furniture | Furnishing and Interiors | Game and Wildlife Management | Gas Industry | Gas Heating and Energy Efficiency | Glass Industry Occupations | Hairdressing and Barbery | Healthcare Support Worker | Heating Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration | Hospitality | Housing | Industrial Applications | Information Security, IT and Telecommunications | Insurance | Land-based Engineering | Life Sciences | Management | Maritime Occupations | Network Construction Operations (Gas) | Occupational Health and Safety Practice | Upstream Oil and Gas Production | Paralegal Practice | Payroll | PCV Driving (Bus and Coach) | Pharmacy Services | Plumbing and Heating | Power Distribution | Print Industry Occupations | Process Manufacturing | Procurement | Professional Services | Providing Financial Services | Rail Engineering | Retail | Signmaking | Smart Meter Installation | Social Services and Healthcare | Supply Chain Management | Sustainable Resource Management | Travel Services | Trees and Timber | Water Industries | Water Treatment Management | Wind Turbine Operation and Maintenance | Wood and Timber Industries | Youth Work |
Did you know 72% of Scottish employers think job applicants lack technical, practical or job specific skills?
A Graduate Apprenticeship helps you build the skills and knowledge that Scottish industries need. You'll work, get paid, and achieve a degree – even up to masters level.
You'll spend most of your time learning on the job, but will also be a student at a university or college.
In order to apply, you must be resident in Scotland before you start your Graduate Apprenticeship. The premises you work in must also be located in Scotland. As part of your application, you'll have to show that you have the right to live and work in Scotland.
There's no upper age limit on Graduate Apprenticeship. You can apply if you're 16 or over. Some vacancies might be for ages 18 and over, because of health and safety requirements.
Plus, even if you've already done a degree with SAAS funding, you could still do a GA – if it's a higher level of qualification in the same subject, or a career change to something new. So, if you're looking to learn while you work this could be the perfect opportunity.
How do I find vacancies?
The best way to look for apprenticeship vacancies is by visiting www.apprenticeships.scot
There, you can search vacancies by job category and location. You can also get updates by following @apprentice_scot on Twitter.
Alternatively, if you have a company in mind, you may find information of vacancies on their website.
For more information on apprenticeships, CV writing or application forms, you can visit the following websites:
When should I apply?
Different companies have their own application times but most companies will allow you to apply from around November/ December until March. This means that if you are considering completing an apprenticeship when you leave school, you will need to apply before you sit your exams just like a college or university application.
What is the application process for an apprenticeship?
Different companies will have their own processes for applying for an apprenticeship. Common things that you might be expected to do when applying are:
- Complete an online application form.
- Submit a CV.
- Complete a video / phone / face to face interview.
- Complete a skills test
Whilst work experience is often not essential when applying for an apprenticeship, it is desirable and can really make your application stand out from the rest. Some companies offer a work experience programme to help prepare applicants for an apprenticeship.
Arnold Clark has a Pre-Apprenticeship Programme open to people aged 16 or over and they are keen for applicants to complete work experience with them before starting an apprenticeship.
To be considered for this programme, the school work-experience co-ordinator requests a placement pack, which is then completed by the pupil and the school.
The application will then be considered by Arnold Clark based on:
- career aspirations
- suitability for the apprenticeship programme
- suitability for branch e.g. travelling
- statement from the work-experience co-ordinator
Arnold Clark will then contact the school co-ordinator to confirm if a place can be offered and where appropriate, offer dates of attendance.
If you would like more information about the Arnold Clark Pre-Apprenticeship Programme, visit the link below:
You can find out more about preparing yourself for work in our ‘Work Experience’ section.