Information about Foundation Apprenticeships

What is a Foundation Apprenticeship?

Foundation Apprenticeships are a partnership between education and employers. They work together to give young people the opportunity to gain real life work experience, skills and qualifications that will help them with their career and further study choices.

Foundation Apprenticeships give young people the chance to try working while they’re still at school. They give young people the chance to get a head start on their careers, gain an industry-recognised qualification, work on real projects and broaden their career options for when they’re ready to take their next steps.

When can pupils do a Foundation Apprenticeship?

Foundation Apprenticeships are available to pupils in 5th year. They take two years to complete and can be taken with other subject choices for National 4s and 5s and Highers. During this time, pupils spend part of the week at college and get hands-on experience with an employer.

What subjects are covered in a Foundation Apprenticeship? 

Foundation Apprenticeships are available in subjects not usually available in most schools and they offer an industry-recognised qualification. They are equivalent to SCQF level 6, the same level of learning as a Higher. Some qualifications have the same number of UCAS points as two or three Highers. Universities are building the FA qualification into their entry criteria.

Why are Foundation Apprenticeships important?

A Foundation Apprenticeship is a great way for young people to experience a potential career before leaving school. It gives your child the chance to:

  • Gain knowledge, skills and hands-on work experience at college and with a local employer
  • Apply for accelerated entry to a Modern Apprenticeship or entry onto a Graduate Level Apprenticeship
  • Make progress to HNC / HND level and further if they wish
  • Enhance their CVs
  • Improve their applications and personal statement for college or university
  • Make employer contacts and improve their job prospects

Foundation Apprenticeships are a particularly good option for young people who would prefer other chances to learn than just through academic study. They can lead to many different career paths including employment, a Modern Apprenticeship, a Graduate apprenticeship, or college or university. 

Find out more about Foundation Apprenticeships from Skills Development Scotland.


Before DYW approached us, we didn’t have the confidence to consider employing a young person straight from school. We didn’t know quite what to expect, or even where to start looking for the right young person. But with DYW’s help, it became a quick and easy process. DYW put in the time – they came to visit us, were always there with help and support, and their enthusiasm for the young people who came to visit us really shone through and helped us engage with them.

Murray Farm Care


DYW DG has helped Morrisons to make Stranraer's young workforce in aware of the good career options in supermarket retail, as well as opportunities for career progression. With DYW’s help, we created a schools' presentation to highlight the opportunities available within Morrisons to school leavers and the young workforce, which gave local pupils a better understanding of how the food retail sector operates. I would definitely recommend a partnership with DYW DG and I look forward to working on other projects with the DYW D&G team.

Eleanor, People Manager, Morrisons, Stranraer


The feedback from the pupils was fantastic and we were over the moon with how our first site visit went  – it was so exciting to hear how enthusiastic the young people were about a future career with the industry and how our different team members had inspired them to look at certain roles that they hadn’t necessarily thought about before.

Emma Porteous, Marketing Manager, Robinsons, Lockerbie


Working in partnership with DYW DG, we have had great success in targeting potential future candidates in areas to suit our operational activities within Dumfries and Galloway. Since our involvement with DYW D&G, we have successfully recruited 11 trainees within Dumfries Galloway over the last 18 months and discussed our various training programmes with around 2,500 of our young people at a number of events.

Kenny Bowie, Head of Planning and Design, SPEN, Dumfries.


SRUC’s Barony Campus students were given a unique entrepreneur opportunity thanks to DYW DG and Chamber of Commerce partnership working and support for the introduction of the ‘Entrepreneur Aspire’ Award. SRUC looks forward to offering this entrepreneur opportunity next academic year, with a possible option to include other regions within Scotland. It is a pleasure to work with DYW DG, who are so enthusiastic and supportive of our students and their business aspirations for the future.

Julie Parker, Senior Tutor, SRUC Barony Campus