Foundation Apprenticeship

Closing the gap between the classroom and the workplace.

student at work placement

(FA) are work-based learning opportunities for young people at school. They were developed following the publication of the Wood Commission report and the introduction of Developing the Young Workforce to offer young people the opportunity to work with industry alongside other forms of traditional learning such as Highers.

FA are part of the Senior Phase Programme and is available to pupils in S5 and S6. In most cases the FA takes 2 years to complete however pupils wishing to undertake the qualification in S6 may be able to complete the programme in 1 year. This will depend on the specific framework.

The aim is to give young people earlier experience of the world of work, by introducing them to industry much earlier, increasing their awareness of industry requirements and opening up their career choices.

Pupils starting in S5

Pupils starting in S5 will undertake 1 day per week in year 1 attending college studying towards an NPA and then in year 2 will work 1 day per week with an employer, where they will undertake part of an SVQ qualification.

Pupils starting in S6

Pupils entering the Foundation Apprenticeship programme in S6 will be required to study the NPA and work with an employer studying toward the SVQ units normally over 2 day per week. The model of delivery will, however, depend on the pupils timetable and the employer requirements. For example pupils may have the opportunity to undertake the SVQ units during school holidays.

FA Recognition for University Admission

A number of universities across Scotland now recognise the FA as part of their entry criteria at the same level as Scottish Highers.

The University of the Highlands and Islands for example are recognising the FA as equivalent to 2 Scottish Highers. This will vary between institutions, so it is advisable to check with the individual universities on their entry requirements.

The Scottish universities currently recognising Foundation Apprenticeships as part of their entrance criteria include:

  • Abertay University
  • Robert Gordon University
  • Heriot Watt University
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Dundee
  • University of Edinburgh
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of the Highlands & Islands
  • University of West of Scotland
  • The Open University
  • Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh
  • Edinburgh Napier
  • Glasgow Caledonian University
  • University of Stirling

Where specified subjects are required for entry to a degree programme (for example Maths and Physics for entry to Engineering), the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering will not replace that requirement but will count as one of the additional subjects making up the total complement of qualifications (and in the case quoted for Engineering, an Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship would positively enhance that application).

There are a few exceptions noted by institutions (e.g. the FA will not be accepted at the University of Glasgow or Edinburgh for Law, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at this point, but will be reviewed).

Current Frameworks

  • Business Skills
  • Creative and Digital Media
  • Engineering
  • Food & Drink Technologies
  • IT: Hardware/Systems Support
  • Social Services (Children & Young People)
  • Social Services and Healthcare

Foundation Apprenticeship Frameworks 2019-20

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Entry Requirements

The Foundation Apprenticeship is open to candidates intending to leave school at the end of S6. Candidates must have or working towards at least 3 National 5 qualifications and your guidance tutor should think you are also be capable of working at Level 6 (Higher) over S5 and S6.

Essential criteria

Business Skills: Candidate must have achieved or working towards Nat 5 English.

Creative & Digital Media: Candidate must have achieved or be working towards Nat 5 English, Graphic Design or Art & Design would be beneficial.

Engineering: Candidate must have National 5 Maths and National 5 Physics or Engineering Science.

Food & Drink Technologies: Candidate must have achieved or working towards Nat 5 English.

IT: Hardware/Systems Support: Candidate must be able to evidence both a genuine interest in work-based learning for this subject and  ready to work at SCQF Level 6.

Social Services & Healthcare: Candidate must be working towards National 5 English. Candidate will be required to undergo A Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check as they are working with vulnerable individuals.

Social Services (Children & Young People): Candidate must be working towards National 5 English. Candidate will be required to undergo A Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check as they are working with vulnerable individuals.