Foundation Apprenticeships


A Foundation Apprenticeship is a new type of apprenticeship that helps you get qualified through work-based learning whilst on placement and theoretical learning at college.

You take it as one of your S5/S6 subject choices and work towards a qualification over one or two years.  It’s the same qualification level as a Higher, but unlike your other subjects, your Foundation Apprenticeship takes you out of the classroom and gets you working on real projects with a real business. 

You spend time at college, get training with an employer and with a local learning provider.  It gives you the combination of a qualification and valuable work place experience in some of Scotland’s most exciting industries, all with projected growth in jobs.

Who is it for?

Foundation Apprenticeships are for pupils making decisions about which subject they’ll study in S5 and S6.  In general they are suited to pupils who:

  • Are capable of working at SCQF Level 6 - the same level as a Higher;
  • Want to try an alternative way to learn, not just in the classroom;
  • Have an interest in developing greater awareness of a specific industry with an inspiration of pursuing a career in that area.

Pupils currently taking Foundation Apprenticeships

  • 54% had achieved between one and four National 5 qualifications before they started;
  • 48% were planning to take two or three Highers in addition to their Foundation Apprenticeship;
  • And 21% were taking it alongside four or five Highers.

What are the benefits?

Whether you want to go to university or college, do an apprenticeship or go straight into work; a Foundation Apprenticeship can help.

  • Going to university or college?  Foundation Apprenticeships are recognised by most of Scotland’s universities1 and colleges as the same level of qualification as a Higher.  What’s more, industry experience will help your application stand out.
  • Thinking about an Apprenticeship?  A Foundation Apprenticeship is a great stepping stone on to a Modern Apprenticeship or Graduate Level Apprenticeship.
  • Headed straight to work?  A Foundation Apprenticeship gives you the specific skills an employer is looking for in their industry plus more general ones like problem solving, communication and teamwork.  You’ll also be able to show qualities employers are looking for, like good time keeping and a positive attitude.

Recognition for University Admission

A number of universities across Scotland now recognise the Foundation Apprenticeship as part of their entry criteria at the same level as Scottish Highers.  The University of the Highlands & Islands for example are recognising the Foundation Apprenticeship as equivalent to two Scottish Highers.  This will vary between institutions, so it is advisable to check with the individual universities on their entry requirements.

Scottish Universities currently recognising Foundation Apprenticeships as part of their entrance criteria include: Abertay University, Robert Gordon University, Heriot Watt University, University of Aberdeen, University of Dundee, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, University of Strathclyde, University of Highlands & Islands, University of West of Scotland, The Open University, Queen Margaret University Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Glasgow Caledonian University and University of Stirling.

It should be noted that where specified subjects are required for entry to a degree programme (for example maths and physics for engineering), the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering will not replace that requirement but will count as one of the additional subjects making up the total complement of qualifications and would positively enhance that application.

There are a few exceptions noted by institutions (for example the Foundation Apprenticeship will not be accepted at the University of Glasgow or Edinburgh for Law, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine at this point, but will be reviewed).  However, it is recommended prior to any application being made to check with individual institutions regarding their entry requirements.

Foundation Apprenticeships offered at North Highland College UHI content

Foundation Apprenticeships offered at North Highland College UHI

Foundation Apprenticeships

How do I apply?

View or download our Foundation Apprenticeships Leaflet (pdf) for more information on our Care Foundation Apprenticeships.  For all other Foundation Apprenticeships click on the course link behind your school badge on Courses for School Pupils page.

You apply in the same way as you would for any other course on the senior phase programme.  The courses are embedded in your column choices at school. 

To apply for a Foundation Apprenticeship, click on the Apply Now button next to your chosen course behind your school badge.  If you are successful the college will notify you by letter.