Don’t fancy university? Earn while you learn with an apprenticeship in Scotland

Beyond the four walls of the classroom, there is a world of opportunity waiting to be tapped into, and it comes in the shape of an apprenticeship.

Modern Apprenticeships give you the opportunity to continue learning, but you’ll be working and – best of all – earning at the same time.

It might seem like school is never-ending, but it won’t be long before you’re tumbling out of bed and pouring yourself a cup of ambition, getting ready to earn some dough and climb up the career ladder. All a little terrifying – but there’s one road into the world of work which could just set you up for life. Modern Apprenticeships are the way forward when it comes to getting your foot on the competitive career ladder.


An apprenticeship is a fantastic way of learning, working and earning in various key fields of employment – not to mention you gain a host of valuable skills. Every year, Scotland celebrates Apprenticeship Week – which fell on 5 to 9 March in 2018 – because of the great directions people can go in after their apprenticeship.

Across Scotland there are already more than 37,000 young people completing their apprenticeships, overseen by Skills Development Scotland (SDS). During an apprenticeship, you will gain confidence in the workplace, new experiences, qualifications that can further your career, and your raw talent will be moulded and defined – as you’re earning.


You’ve probably already heard about a Modern Apprenticeship (MA), but did you know over 25,000 people start an MA each year? Learning on the job, gaining experience you would miss in the classroom whilst still working towards a

qualification is the beauty of an MA – oh, and you get paid. You’ve got to apply for an MA like you would any other job, and if you’re successful, your employer will team up with a training provider to help you work towards a certain qualification, ranging from SVQ to HN level. You’ll either learn on the job, at a local college on day release or on training courses.

With more than 80 types of apprenticeships on offer, you can take your pick of over 100 careers, from supporting solicitors to working in the travel industry. The opportunities are limitless with an apprenticeship, and as they’re designed with employers and industry in mind, you’ll learn a thing or two about working life.

Experience is the biggest and most essential requirement to getting your foot in the door of any business, whether you want to be an engineer or a work in the beauty industry. One of the most common reasons for getting rejected from a role is due to a lack of work experience. That’s the driving force behind apprenticeships – work experience and training that will give you a step up into your indsutry. This is your chance to gather vital on-the-job experience as well as a qualification.


Everyone is different and for this reason there are several apprenticeship routes to go down. For students still in school who want to experience working life before leaving education, a Foundation Apprenticeship is the option for you. There are 12 Foundation Apprenticeships available from a wide career pool to give you the chance to experience different career paths – who says you need to stick to one profession forever?

Taking part in a Foundation Apprenticeship usually begins in fifth year with time-spent working with a local business or taking classes at a college. For those still in school and unsure what direction to go in this is a chance to discover what you’re really interested in. Over two years, you can grow as a person and develop your skillset outside the classroom – hands-on experience has been proven to be the best way to learn.

From social services to creative digital media, scientific technologies to accountancy or childcare, there is an apprenticeship sure to explore your potential. During your Foundation Apprenticeship you could work with leading organisations including Barclays, Network Rail, and the NHS.


There is also an option for those looking to gain a degree at the end of their apprenticeship with the Graduate Level Apprenticeship. The new way to work and learn will see you in a full-time paid job as you gain a qualification with one of the eight universities involved in the programme.

During your time working, the skills you develop will see you get a degree faster because everything you learn on the job is relevant, and right for your career. No more wasting time in seminars and lectures wondering what you’re getting out of the time. With 19 courses on offer, the Graduate Level Apprenticeship will see you spending the majority of your time in work – but you’ll still be a student. Somewhere Miley Cyrus is singing about getting the best of both worlds.


It might all sound a little too good to be true, but there really isn’t a catch. The success rate for those who complete an apprenticeship is paramount – work-based learning is where it’s at.

Figures show that 91% of young people completing their apprenticeships are still in employment six months after getting that all-important end qualification. Not only that, but employers are praising this route as the way forward; 96% of employers say former apprentices are better equipped at doing their job because of their experience of working life.

Application processes vary for each of the different apprenticeships, but there is help every step of the way – this is your future we’re talking about, so you need to make the right decisions.

If your school days are bringing you down, it’s time to think outside the classroom and learn from genuine employers. Find out what working life is really like; start earning your own money and work towards a qualification, too.

It’s time to set your morning alarm!

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