Modern Apprenticeships

Thousands of young Scots are choosing to get their careers up and running with a Modern Apprenticeship and there were over 1,000 new starts in the Highlands last year alone.
They are a great way to learn new skills and gain industry recognised qualifications, such as SVQs, without having to study full-time or give up your pay cheque.
Modern Apprenticeships are created by employers who have decided that their business would benefit from having that level of skilled staff, so if you secure a place, you are being taken on as a paid employee from day one.

Where do I start?

If you have not yet decided on the area you want to work in, you should start by visiting Skills Development Scotland’s web service my world of work. It has features that will help you discover what you do best, as well as information on where future job opportunities are likely to come from and what’s involved in specific roles.

There are Modern Apprenticeships for a huge range of occupations – from construction and engineering to hairdressing and retail. Visit Modern Apprenticeships for details.

Once you have decided on the type of work that interests you, you should contact employers in that field to find out if they have any Modern Apprenticeship vacancies. One way of doing this is to target employers with a letter and CV, if you have one, or visit employers in person and leave your details. Again, you can get help with writing a letter and CV at my world of work and you can get addresses for local employers from lots of different places e.g. online at

How do I get an MA?

Modern Apprenticeships come about as a result of employers identifying a need, so places are advertised like any other vacancy. Once you’ve secured a place, you will then undertake a Level 2, 3, 4 or 5 Apprenticeship, depending on what is appropriate to the job. Apprenticeships are based on national occupational standards, so you would have an industry recognised qualification at the end of your training.

How long does it last?

The length of time it takes to complete a Modern Apprenticeship varies depending on the type of Modern Apprenticeship you do, the requirements of your employer and your experience. On average, it takes a 16 to 19 year-old four years to complete a Level 3 in Construction, while a Level 2 in Retail can be much shorter.

How much would I get paid?

It will vary depending on the job and responsibilities. However, it is guaranteed that you will be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for Apprentices. Many employers tend to pay you more as your skills develop. Visit Minimum Wage for details.

Who can help me?

A full list of current Modern Apprenticeship frameworks can be viewed at Modern Apprenticeships. You can also call Skills Development Scotland on 0800 917 8000, or contact your local SDS Office for any enquiries or if you wish to speak to an adviser. You can also search for vacancies at my world of work or at Apprenticeships in Scotland.

What does an employer expect from me?

Employers will expect you to demonstrate a positive attitude, a willingness to learn a range of new skills and to put these into practice in the workplace to make a positive contribution to the team.

How can I progress from a Modern Apprenticeship?

A Modern Apprenticeship gives you a great start in life, providing the building blocks for not only your chosen career but also “soft skills” such as communication and teamwork that can be used across different industries.
Modern Apprentices are encouraged to progress through the levels of training and qualifications appropriate to their job. Achieving industry qualifications allows you to progress within the company you are with and beyond.

Do I need qualifications to do an MA?

Many employers will ask for specific qualifications e.g. maths for engineering, but not necessarily all. If you don’t have academic qualifications it doesn’t rule you out. Why not visit my world of work and use the My Strengths tool to identify personal skills you should highlight in applications.

Most employers will ask you to complete an application form and, in some cases, to sit a test.

What will help me to get a Modern Apprenticeship?

A good grasp of relevant school subjects, active membership of clubs and societies and demonstrating that you’ve already developed some of the skills that employers are looking for. These can be acquired from things like work experience, training or college courses e.g. the Vocational Pathways Programme at Inverness College.


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