Foundation Apprenticeships

Foundation Apprenticeships are a Skills Development Scotland (SDS) initiative, providing work-based learning opportunities for learners in their senior phase of secondary education.

Arrangements for Foundation Apprenticeship Frameworks at SCQF level 6 in 2020-21

Internal Assessment Guidance 2020-21

Certification of Foundation Apprenticeships in 2019-20

Because Foundation Apprenticeships blend classroom and workplace learning - COVID-19 restrictions have meant it has been difficult to complete the work-based elements and assessments.

In partnership with Colleges Scotland, SDS and Universities Scotland, the following outcomes will apply, depending on your situation.

  1. If you completed and passed all elements of your Foundation Apprenticeship. You will receive a Foundation Apprenticeship certificate, which can be used for entrance to college and university courses.
  2. If you have passed the NPA/NC element by 11 September 2020, or have had no 'fails' recorded, you'll get SQA certification for the units and the NPA/NC. You will also receive a Letter of Recognition which is recognised by colleges and universities for course admissions.
  3. If you were not on track to achieve the Foundation Apprenticeship - because you did not achieve the NPA/NC or have failed some elements. You will only get SQA certification for the elements you passed, but will not get a certificate or Letter of Recognition.

Read the full Foundation Apprenticeships statement.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) information

What are Foundation Apprenticeships?

Foundation Apprenticeships are a Skills Development Scotland (SDS) initiative, providing new, work-based learning opportunities for learners in their senior phase of secondary education. It enables them to complete elements of a Modern Apprenticeship while still at school.

Learners work towards a Foundation Apprenticeship alongside their other subjects — their National 5 and Highers. They'll also spend part of the school week with a learning provider and with a local employer. They will work towards industry-recognised qualifications while developing skills and experience in the workplace.

If you are interested in offering or completing a Foundation Apprenticeship, please visit the SDS Apprenticeship website

What Level 6 Foundation Apprenticeships are available?

Title Original code New code for candidates starting in 2020
Accountancy GN7T 46 GR6D 46
Business Skills GL8J 46 GR50 46
Civil Engineering GL51 46  
Creative and Digital Media GM69 46  
Engineering GL7C 46  
Financial Services GL53 46 GR6F 46
Food and Drink Technologies GN26 46  
IT: Hardware/System Support GL55 46 GR53 46
IT: Software Development GL54 46 GR54 46
Scientific Technologies GN14 46  
Social Services and Healthcare GL52 46  
Social Services: Children and Young People GL7A 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.

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

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 Apprenticeships.scot website.

Further information on the SDS Foundation Apprenticeship Frameworks.