Over the coming weeks, pupils in S3-S5 will be making their subject choices for the next academic year. Parents supporting them through this process may be bewildered by the array of options their children now face, which can be very different from when they were making these choices themselves.
Looking through the ‘Options for Senior Phase’ booklet produced by Orkney College, you may have spotted that your child can study for a Foundation Apprenticeship.
Now, if you are from the generation who studied Standard Grades, the term ‘foundation’ may remind you (not always favourably) of the Credit, General, Foundation framework. However, this is not the same thing. Within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework, a Foundation Apprenticeship is graded at SCQF Level 6 – which is exactly the same as a Higher. For comparison, a Standard Grade Foundation qualification would be equivalent to an SCQF Level 3, which is a National 3.
So, what exactly is a Foundation Apprenticeship?
Part of the family of apprenticeships now available in Scotland – alongside Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships – they give young people an opportunity to undertake work-based learning while still at school so they can gain valuable experience and knowledge.
A Foundation Apprenticeship counts as one of your child’s subject choices, usually start in S5 and, depending on the subject, they can take one or two years to complete. Young people spend part of their time at Orkney College and part of it on work placement with an employer. They will have the chance to meet employers in the industry, learn more about careers in the sector and put their skills into practice working on real projects.
All sounds great, but where can they take you? Well, as they give a qualification which is equivalent to a Higher they offer the same progression route. They can help young people progress onto full-time employment, a Modern Apprenticeship, HNC or Degree programme.
While you will have to check with your preferred University or College individually regarding entry requirements, all Scottish Universities will accept a Foundation Apprenticeship as being equivalent to one Higher at either ‘A’ or ‘B’ grade. Abertay University, Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the University of the Highlands and Islands also offer enhanced recognition if you are applying for a degree in the same area.
This year, Orkney College are offering Foundation Apprenticeships in four subjects, there are: Business Skills, Social Services: Children and Young People; Social Services and Healthcare and Software Development. For more information, visit: www.orkney.uhi.ac.uk/schools/foundation-apprenticeships/
If you, or your child would like to learn more about Foundation Apprenticeships and what they can offer, speak to their Guidance Teacher, Careers Adviser or Orkney College UHI. You can also visit www.apprenticeships.scot/become-an-apprentice/foundation-apprenticeships/ for more information.
I am the Project Manager for Developing the Young Workforce Orkney.