Apprenticeships are a fantastic way to kickstart your career. Some employers will ask for specific qualifications, but others are looking for applicants who simply have the motivation to succeed. What’s more, once you’ve completed a Foundation or Modern apprenticeship qualification, you can work your way up - in some sectors, as high as a master’s degree. Read on to find out exactly what you need to get the ball rolling!
In Scotland, there are 3 different levels of apprenticeships, each of which has its own entry requirements:
- Foundation apprenticeships - providing secondary school pupils with workplace experience while completing their National 5s and Highers
- Modern apprenticeships - aimed at people aged 16 and over
- Graduate level apprenticeships - allowing apprentices to take their studies up to master’s level
Keep in mind that, whilst the below are typical entry requirements for each level, each apprenticeship vacancy will list its own entry requirements. This means you’ll need to through the full apprenticeship description to find out the specific qualifications required, together with any relevant skills or experience.
Entry requirements for foundation apprenticeships
- Foundation apprenticeships are designed to be studied alongside other school subjects.
- To apply for a Foundation apprenticeship, you usually need to be studying towards a National 5 qualification.
- Each employer will have their own entry requirements, which might vary from the above. Some, for example, might require you to be studying a particular subject.
Entry requirements for modern apprenticeships
- Modern apprenticeships are available at 4 levels:
- SCQF Level 5 – considered equivalent to National 5
- SCQF Level 6/7 – considered equivalent to two Advanced Higher passes or two A level passes
- SCQF Level 8/9 – considered equivalent to a Higher National Diploma (HND) or Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE)
- SCQF Level 10/11 – considered equivalent to an honours or master’s degree
- Typical entry requirements include 3 or more National 4s, or Standard Grades at general level.
- Some employers might allow you to start at a higher level, depending on the job role and the qualifications you already have.
Entry requirements for graduate level apprenticeships
- Graduate level apprenticeships are available at 3 levels:
- SCQF Level 8 – completion of an apprenticeship at this level often leads to a Diploma of Higher Education or a HND/SQV 4
- SCQF Level 10 – allows the apprentice to achieve a full honours degree by combining work-based experience with university attendance
- SCQF Level 11 – can allow progression to a master’s degree
- Entry requirements for Graduate level apprenticeships are often quite similar to those required for a degree programme, so many employers will expect you to have studied relevant subjects. However, unlike applying for a degree, it’s likely that a lot of weight will be placed on your skills and experience, including any previous apprenticeships. Therefore, if you’re lacking a certain academic qualification, this isn’t necessarily a barrier – get in touch with the uni, college or employer to see if they’ll still consider your application.
When reading about the qualifications required for an apprenticeship, remember that ‘or equivalent’ can mean a number of different qualifications, including those gained on an earlier apprenticeship. Therefore, if a graduate level apprenticeship in Construction asks for 2 Highers or their equivalent, the employer is very likely to accept an applicant with a Modern Apprenticeship in Construction or something similar. As always, it’s always good practice to read the job description thoroughly to find out their exact requirements and get in touch with the employer or university if in any doubt.