Apprenticeships give young talent chance to excel at SQA

Monday 4 March 2024

As Scottish Apprenticeship Week begins, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is helping young people take their first steps into the world of work by recruiting modern apprentices in several roles across its Edinburgh and Glasgow sites.

As part of its commitment to developing the young workforce, SQA is recruiting 12 modern apprentices aged between 16 to 19*, in a variety of business areas, including Digital Marketing, Data Analytics, Service Delivery, and Strategic Planning and Governance.

SQA is Scotland’s national awarding and accreditation body, overseeing the delivery of thousands of qualifications that are available in schools, colleges, training facilities and workplaces in Scotland and around the world.  As an employer, SQA is committed to providing high-quality modern apprenticeship opportunities to young people from all backgrounds.

Both one and two-year programmes are available giving successful applicants the chance to develop their knowledge and skills, take part in a variety of work activities, and build their confidence and experience while getting paid and working towards valuable SQA qualifications, including Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) and Higher National Certificates (HNCs).

Lindsey Burke is currently a Quality Assurance Logistics Officer at SQA, but started her career as an apprentice in 2018, where she worked towards a HNC  in Business and an SVQ  in Business and Administration, during her two-year Modern Apprenticeship.

My apprenticeship helped develop my communication skills and really boosted my confidence, on top of the knowledge I gained through completing my qualifications.

As part of the Modern Apprenticeship, I was given a mentor who was there to support me throughout and help me set professional goals. My manager was also really supportive of the programme. I attended college one day a week, so it was great to learn from others and share different opinions.

Another former SQA apprentice, David McAllister, adds, “I would encourage any young person to apply for the Modern Apprenticeship programme, as it gives you the chance to kickstart your career at an organisation where there is opportunity for progression. When you’re ready to take the next step, your mentor can help you with mock interviews and personal statements to progress your career.”

Sarah Anne Rooney, Employee Development Programme Manager, who leads SQA’s Modern Apprenticeship programme, says it’s SQA’s responsibility to give modern apprentices the skills, experience, and confidence to take the next step in their career or education journey.

Our placements offer valuable first-time experiences within specific business areas, meaning young people who undertake apprenticeships are in an excellent position to secure full-time employment down the line, or continue their education and training. Our vocational qualifications are part of nationally recognised apprenticeships frameworks, ensuring they are valuable to employers across the country.

SQA’s modern apprentices are provided with a support network to help them make the most of their placement. Line managers and external assessors help them develop and evidence their newly acquired skills to help them achieve their qualifications, whilst a mentor works with them to identify and plan for their future career aspirations.

Applications for the modern apprenticeship positions are now being accepted and will close on Sunday 5 May. For further details on how to apply, visit