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Are Apprenticeships different in Scotland?

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Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is the national skills body supporting the people and businesses of Scotland to develop and apply their skills. It is set annual key targets, objectives and priorities by Scottish ministers.

Modern Apprenticeships provide apprenticeships in Scotland, with training funded by SDS. Apprenticeships are available across a wide range of sectors – such as Accounting, Agriculture and Fashion – and the format of the training is decided by the appropriate Sector Skills Council. Find a complete list of apprenticeship frameworks here.

Modern Apprenticeships are open to anyone aged 15 or over who has reached Scottish statutory minimum school leaving age – slightly younger than the rest of the UK, where the age is 16. In some sectors over 25s are also eligible for funding support.

Our Skillsforce, from SDS, help employers find the funding and support available both locally and nationally. On the Our Skillsforce website, employers can also advertise apprenticeship vacancies and search for training providers. 

Our Skillsforce, from SDS, help employers find the funding and support available both locally and nationally. On the Our Skillsforce website, employers can also advertise apprenticeship vacancies and search for training providers.

The same as in England, there are quite strict guidelines around the minimum employers should pay their apprentices. 

The minimum that apprentices are entitled to depends on their age and length of time on a programme. Starting at £3.90 (as of April 2017) per hour – if an apprentice is under 19 or in their first year – this rises to £6.15 in the second year for those aged 18 to 20, then to £7.70 for 21-24-year-olds, and then up to the National Living Wage of £8.21 if they are over 25.

Employers are free to pay above the new wage and many do so, but employers must ensure that they are paying their apprentices at least the minimum wage.

The average weekly wage for an apprentice is actually around £200, dependant on the sector, region and apprenticeship level. For example, some higher apprenticeships can pay as much as £300-£500 per week.

Those who do get paid the minimum might be eligible to receive benefits from the government on top of their wage: it’s worth exploring the funding options out there.

Higher Apprenticeships and Degree Apprenticeships often pay higher than the National Minimum Wage and National Apprenticeship Minimum Wage; a £16,000 starting salary, for example, with regular pay reviews just like a standard employee would receive. Some HIgher Apprenticeship employers pay as high as £23,000 per year. 

Adopt an Apprentice

Adopt an Apprentice is a Scottish scheme offering a financial incentive to take on an apprentice. This payment helps cover the wage and recruitment costs of taking on a Modern Apprentice who has been made redundant from another employer.

For employers willing to take on a redundant apprentice a payment of £2,000 will be awarded; employers in the oil and gas industry will receive £5,000.

To read the guidelines or download the application form, visit Provider Central. Find out more at Our Skillsforce.

Foundation apprenticeships

>Foundation apprenticeships enable pupils in S4 to S6 to complete elements of a Modern Apprenticeship while still at school. Depending on the subject they choose, pupils will study towards a foundation apprenticeship alongside their other subjects, and spend part of the school week at college or with a local employer. As well as working towards industry-recognised qualifications they will develop skills, experience and capability in a live business environment.

Foundation apprenticeships are linked to the key growth sectors of the Scottish economy.

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