Foundation Apprenticeships

Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Level 6 provide work-based learning opportunities for learners in their senior phase of secondary education.

Spending part of the school week with a learning provider and a local employer, learners work towards a Foundation Apprenticeship alongside their other qualifications such as National 5 and Highers.

Completing a Foundation Apprenticeship can lead to progression on to a job, such as a Modern or Graduate Apprenticeship.

We are also working in partnership with Skills Development Scotland to pilot Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Levels 4 and 5. This currently provides work-based learning opportunities for up to 1000 S3 to S6 pupils across Scotland.

More information about Foundation Apprenticeships is available below, and further details are available on the Skills Development Scotland website.

What Foundation Apprenticeships at Level 6 are available?

Title Code
Accountancy GR6D 46
Business Skills GR50 46
Civil Engineering GL51 46
Creative and Digital Media GM69 46
Engineering GL7C 46
Financial Services GR6F 46
Food and Drink Technologies GN26 46
IT: Hardware/System Support GR53 46
IT: Software Development GR54 46
Scientific Technologies GN14 46
Social Services and Healthcare GL52 46
Social Services: Children and Young People GL7A 46

2020-21 Temporary Engineering Framework

SQA, SDS and Enginuity have developed a temporary framework for the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering at SCQF level 6.

This recognises the challenges faced by providers and learners in completing the SVQ Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) component of the framework.

The new temporary framework below consists of the National Certificate at SCQF L6 and only the three mandatory PEO SVQ units. No optional PEO units will be required.

Title New code for candidates starting in 2020
Engineering (Temporary 2021 No PEO options) GR93 46

2020-21 Temporary Care Frameworks

Two new temporary frameworks have been developed for Social Services and Healthcare, and Social Services: Children and Young People, which retain the same or similar learning outcomes from the original frameworks, while removing the requirement for direct work placement. (Full details available in Arrangements for Foundation Apprenticeship Frameworks at SCQF Level 6 in 2020-21 (132 KB)).

Title New code for candidates starting in 2020
Social Services and Healthcare (Customised Route) GR84 46
Social Services: Children and Young People (Customised Route) GR85 46

What qualifications/units will a learner work towards to achieve a Foundation Apprenticeship?

Each Foundation Apprenticeship framework contains the following components:

  • A National Certificate (NC) or National Progression Award (NPA) - an industry recognised qualification which is taught within a classroom environment;
  • Selected Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) units or Diploma units - developed through National Occupational Standards, the units are completed within a work place environment.
  • Or SQA Customised units based on the same underpinning National Occupational Standards as the SVQ/Diploma units - developed to give a broader definition of 'the workplace' to offer more flexibility of delivery and assessment.
  • The Work-based challenge unit (J4YL 04) will be mandatory for candidates starting in 2020 in the following five Foundation Apprenticeships:
    • Financial Services (GR6F 46)
    • Business Skills (GR50 46)
    • Accountancy (GR6D 46)
    • IT: Hardware/Systems Support (GR53 46)
    • IT: Software Development (GR54 46)

Professional qualifications are also contained within the Accountancy and Food and Drink Technologies frameworks, which enable learners to gain industry specific skills within their apprenticeship.

Alternative assessment arrangements for 2021-22

We recently confirmed that the current alternative assessment approaches for Higher National and Vocational Qualifications – put in place to assist centres with the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on teaching, learning and assessment – will continue for session 2021-22.

SQA and Skills Development Scotland can confirm that the temporary frameworks developed for Foundation Apprenticeship frameworks in 2020–21 in response to COVID-19 will also continue to be available in 2021-22.

This ensures that they are available for any learner new starts in 2021-22 and for any returners, to ensure they will complete on that framework.

This applies to the following temporary frameworks, developed in response to COVID-19:

  • Social Services and Healthcare (Customised route)
  • Social Services: Children and Young People (Customised route)
  • Engineering

As with the temporary frameworks we can confirm that the customised units, which were introduced as an option alongside SVQ/Diploma units in Foundation Apprenticeship frameworks are available for 2021-22 new starts and returners.

Full details of these arrangements are available in the following guidance:

The following document details the roles and responsibilities of organisations involved in partnership delivery of a Foundation Apprenticeship:

From Skills Development Scotland (SDS):

The following specific guidance is available for the Foundation Apprenticeship in Food and Drink (GN26 46):

Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Levels 4 & 5 - pilot

SQA and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) are delivering a work-based learning pilot at SCQF Levels 4 and 5 for 2020-21, which will give up to 1000 S3 to S6 pupils across Scotland the opportunity to achieve work-based learning qualifications at an earlier stage of learning.

The pilot, which ran for the first time last year, is now part of the Foundation Apprenticeship initiative.

Around 30 centres are involved, having been selected through an SDS procurement process.

Learners on the pilot will work towards achieving a Customised Award in three subject areas: Automotive, Hospitality and Construction.

The Customised Award consists of:

  • Skills for Work course (Hospitality and Automotive) or National Progression Award (Construction)
  • Work-based Challenge Unit

The Work-based Challenge Unit will give learners the opportunity to work with a local employer to design, develop and deliver a project.

This will help develop the learner's meta skills - such as creativity, team-working and self-management, which can contribute to work readiness - alongside the technical skills required for the project.

Title Code
Work-Based Skills: Automotive at SCQF Level 4 GR4F 04
Work-Based Skills: Construction at SCQF Level 4 GR4H 04
Work-Based Skills: Construction at SCQF Level 5 GR4G 04
Work-Based Skills: Hospitality at SCQF Level 4 GR4J 04
Work-Based Skills: Hospitality at SCQF Level 5 GR4K 04

Approval Criteria for Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF levels 4 and 5: Pilot 2021–22 (140 KB)

Further details and guidance for centres involved in the pilot is available on the SDS website.

Pathway Apprenticeships Programme

Pathway Apprenticeships are a Skills Development Scotland initiative, which aim to prepare unemployed recent school leavers for the work of work.

The Pathway Apprenticeship programme includes existing Foundation Apprenticeships, along with opportunities to develop other employability skills such as CV development and interview experience.

More information about Pathway Apprenticeships is available on the website.

Further information on the SDS Foundation Apprenticeship Frameworks.