About Modern Apprenticeships

Young People

What is a Modern Apprenticeship?

It’s a job with training where you work towards a recognised formal qualification, for example a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ). Your employer pays you a wage and helps you gain valuable experience and workplace skills.

Why choose a Modern Apprenticeship?

Modern Apprenticeships might be right for you if you prefer to learn from hands-on experience, and would prefer part time rather than full time study. Being able to earn while you learn is another plus point.

What levels of Modern Apprenticeship are there?

Modern Apprenticeships are available at two levels, Level 2 (SCQF Level 5) and Level 3 (SCQF Level 6/7). Often apprenticeships cover both Level 2 and 3 training.

There are other levels of apprenticeship in Scotland. One of these, Technical Apprenticeships at Level 4 (SCQF Levels 8 and 9), is also available to school leavers. These are sometimes also called Higher Level Apprenticeships.

What areas can I get a Modern Apprenticeship in?

There are over 80 types of Modern Apprenticeship, from banking and construction to hairdressing and rail engineering. Use our search options to find what’s on offer at the moment.

Some are only available in certain areas of the country, like apprenticeships in Sea Fishing!

What training and qualifications will I get?

Most of your training is on the job, in the workplace, but you may attend college on a day release or block basis. A training provider may visit you in the workplace to assess your progress.

If you complete an Modern Apprenticeship at Level 2, you will usually achieve a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Level 2 and for Level 3 it is an SVQ Level 3. In addition to this you will achieve five core skills at levels 3 to 6: Communication, Numeracy, Information and Communication Technology, Problem Solving and Working with Others.

A Technical/Higher Apprenticeship at Level 4 leads to qualifications at SCQF Level 8 or 9, such as a Higher National Diploma or Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Level 4.

Rather than the five core skills, with Technical/Higher Apprenticeships you complete appropriate Career Skills units at SCQF Level 7. These are agreed between you and your employer.

How long does it take?

Modern Apprenticeships take between 1 – 4 years, depending on the level, the qualification, industry sector and prior skills or experience of the apprentice.

Who can apply?

Anyone living in Scotland who is over school leaving age can apply.

However, the Scottish Government doesn’t normally fund training for apprentices over the age of 24 so most apprentices are under 25.

In 2015/16, 62% of apprentices in training were aged 16-19; 24% were aged 20-24.

What do I need to get in?

That depends on the industry or sector you are applying for, and the level of training you do. You may not need any formal qualifications for some apprenticeships, for others you’ll need a group of National 4s. In a few cases, especially for Technical or Higher Apprenticeships, you’ll need a group of National 5s and possibly some Highers at A-C.

Vacancies listed on Mappit have details of what employers are looking for.

What will I get paid?

That depends on the type of job you do, your level of training and age. The least you’ll get is the National Minimum Wage rate for apprentices, which is £3.30 an hour for apprentices under 19 (£5,940 a year). However, apprentices often get more than this.

The average weekly pay (before deductions) for Modern Apprentices at levels 2 and 3 in Scotland is £269. The average weekly pay after deductions (like tax) is £237.

The average weekly pay for level 2 and 3 Modern Apprentices aged 16 to 18 is £179 (£9,293 yearly).

However, pay rates vary a lot depending on your job. The average weekly pay before deductions for a hairdressing or child care apprentice is £150 (£7,200 yearly).

Technical/Higher Level 4 apprentices may earn between £11,000 and £19,000 a year.

Who pays for my training?

Your employer and the Scottish Government pay for your training if you are under 25 years old. Skills Development Scotland, the Government’s national skills body, oversees the development of Modern Apprenticeship programmes.

Are there other types of training or apprenticeships I can do?

There are an increasing number of large companies that offer school or college leaver programmes, which are sometimes referred to as apprenticeships. They are available across a wide range of industries, including finance, construction and IT and you can work and train to become anything from an accountant to a retail manager.

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of job you are applying for, the level of qualifications involved in the training and the employer. You will usually be expected to have some subjects at Higher or relevant national qualifications at the same level.

During the programme or apprenticeship, you will usually study towards in-house qualifications, a degree in a relevant subject area or professional qualifications, for example ACCA accountancy qualifications.


Do I get funding for taking on a Modern Apprentice?

Yes! You pay the apprentice’s wages and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) help pay towards the cost of the training. The amount of funding available depends on a number of things, including the type of apprenticeship, the industry your company is in and the age of the apprentice.

A training provider deals with the funding for you and provides assistance with the hiring process and throughout the duration of the apprentice for both you and the apprentice.

For detailed information about taking on a Modern Apprentice, contact the free SDS helpline at 0800 783 6000. You can also find information at: