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What are Foundation Apprenticeships?

Posted: 12th February 2019

Foundation Apprenticeships were developed by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to introduce senior phase school pupils (S5/6) to work-based learning, bridge the skills gap in Scotland and tackle disproportionate youth unemployment. Since their inception they have grown nationally with a current total of 12 frameworks, of which Edinburgh College offer 10.

Delivered over 2 years in partnership between SDS, schools, colleges and employers, Foundation Apprenticeships are designed to provide young people direct contact with industry. Students attend college in their first year, completing either an NPA or NC qualification before completing SVQ units on a work placement during the second year. These two elements combine to create the full Foundation Apprenticeship qualification. Upon completion, students can either enter employment, a Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship, or continue onto college or university.

Where does your organisation fit in?

Edinburgh College is currently seeking placements for the following frameworks:

  • Accountancy
  • Financial Services
  • Business Skills
  • IT Software Development

They are particularly keen to hear from Accountancy and Financial Services firms.

They also offer frameworks in:

  • Creative & Digital Media
  • Engineering

They are in the recruitment phase for frameworks in:

  • Scientific Technologies
  • Food & Drink Technologies
  • Civil Engineering
  • Social Services & Healthcare

Be sure to get in touch via the contact details below if your organisation has the capacity to support employer-based activity across one or more of these frameworks.

How can your organisation get involved?

There a variety of ways organisations such as yourself can get involved, such as:

  • Work placement – support one or more of our Foundation Apprentices in achieving the work-based element of their qualification
  • Industry talk – help show students where their qualification can take them by delivering a talk to one of the classes about your sector, organisation or career path
  • Industry visit – invite a class in to witness your organisation first hand and gain an insight into how you operate within your given sector
  • Industry challenge – set students a task relating to one of their college-based units

There are many benefits to engaging with the Foundation Apprenticeship project, including:

  • No direct costs to your organisation
  • Develop your business with the skills you need
  • Mentoring opportunities for existing
  • Develop a talent pipeline
  • Greater company loyalty if supporting students from a young age
  • Spot future employees
  • Positive promotion for your organisation

How does it work?

The placement element of the Foundation Apprenticeships generally take place over the course of the second year of the qualification. The current intake would be looking to begin their placements between late August and early October 2019 and would carry on until April 2020. As a rolling programme there will continue to be more opportunities to support the project as it grows, with the new intake of students due to begin in June 2019.

Typical placement structure is Tuesday/Thursday afternoons, but there is also potential for placements blocks in school holidays (e.g. one week in October, one week in February) or a different pattern depending on individual student timetables and availability.

There is a core Foundation Apprenticeship team within the college which includes an Employer Engagement Officer with a dedicated remit regarding liaison of work placements and employer based activity and to ensure your organisation is supported throughout any activity you choose to engage in with the college. Students on placement will also be supported by an assessor who are on hand to ensure they are working through their work-based units on schedule.

Industry talks, visits and challenges are organised on an ad-hoc basis through the Employer Engagement Officer, who will generally liaise with organisations and curriculum staff to facilitate and keep track of activities.

How does your organisation get involved?

If you would like more information, or would like to discuss potentially getting involved with Foundation Apprenticeships, please contact Employer Engagement Officer Lauren Fraser on either 0131 297 8008 or Lauren.Fraser@edinburghcollege.ac.uk to have a chat or arrange a meeting.

Find out more:

You can find out more about each framework on offer at Edinburgh College here: http://www.edinburghcollege.ac.uk/Schools/Are-You-A-Teacher/Foundation-Apprenticeships

You can find out more about Foundation Apprenticeships in general here:


You can see case studies from previous Foundation Apprenticeship placements here:


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