Fife College has begun the delivery of SCQF Level 4 and 5 Foundation Apprenticeships for S3 to S6 school pupils across the Fife region.

In addition to the Level 6 Foundation Apprenticeships already on offer, this new offering will allow enrolled school pupils to achieve a work-based qualification at an even earlier stage in their learning.

As part of a national pilot programme, over 60 places are being offered in subjects such as construction, hospitality, and automotive. The new qualifications aim to develop the technical, communication, creativity and self-management skills of those taking part.

One aspect of this new model is the inclusion of a Work-based Challenge Unit, with pupils working in teams with a local employer to design, develop and deliver a project.

The hope is that these new qualifications can help extend the work-readiness of those taking part, and help meet the future skills challenges facing Scotland.

Iain Hawker, Assistant Principal: Quality and Academic Partnerships at Fife College, said:

“We’re really pleased to be working with Skills Development Scotland and Fife Council to deliver these two new levels of Foundation Apprenticeships.

“We’ve already helped hundreds of school pupils through our existing Level 6 Foundation Apprenticeship scheme in partnership with Fife Council, and these new qualifications will enable us to offer a similar opportunity at an earlier level of learning to those interested.

“As part of a DYW Fife portfolio of qualifications, school pupils throughout Fife now have more brilliant opportunities available to them to gain a real work-based learning experience and help them develop skills that will lead to a future career in these areas.

“Given the current economic climate it’s important we do all we can to meet the future skill needs of Scotland, and these qualifications are an important step in helping us to achieve this.”

SDS Director of Critical Skills and Occupations, Diane Greenlees said:

"Foundation Apprenticeships are creating more confident young people with the critical skills and relevant qualifications for the workplace.

“SDS is committed to working with SQA and partners to widen opportunities for more young people to benefit from Work-based Learning and bring education and employers closer together.

“The pilot programme offering Work-based Learning in schools at SCQF Levels 4 & 5 focuses on developing meta-skills that are both personal and practical and contribute to work readiness and our ambition is to create a final model that will be embedded into the Scottish school curriculum.”

Pilot SCQF Level 4 & 5 Foundation Apprenticeships focus on developing meta-skills in individuals such as innovation, organisational, problem-solving and communication, which are recognised as life-long skills an individual needs to adapt to change in work and vital skills employers look for.

Skills Development Scotland worked in partnership with SQA to develop the model being delivered by the college and other learning providers across Scotland.

The introduction of Work-based Learning at an earlier stage in pupils’ learning is part of the development to extend the reach of the Foundation Apprenticeship offer of the future.

Extending Work-based Learning to all levels (SCQF levels 4-11) through apprenticeships has been identified by the Scottish Government as a way to improve Scotland’s productivity and meet future skills challenges.

In its work to address this, SDS looked at a vocational offer in schools that created closer links with employers and has been running a pilot programme offering work-based learning opportunities at SCQF Level 4 & 5 using different models of delivery.

Skills Development Scotland has been funded by the Scottish Government to offer opportunities for pupils under this 2020/21 pilot model covering Automotive Skills, Construction and Hospitality.