18 March 2021

Aberdeenshire's Foundation Apprenticeships continue to demonstrate firm foundations

Members of the Education and Children’s Services Committee heard about the progress of Foundation Apprenticeships in Aberdeenshire’s schools.

Beginning in session 2019-2020, the council has been contracted by Skills Development Scotland as a lead provider of Foundation Apprenticeships in schools and has seen an increased uptake in this qualification. 

In the 2020-21 session 430 pupils have benefitted from the Aberdeenshire Council Foundation Apprenticeship experience while a further 64 are completing a Foundation Apprenticeship through NESCOL.

The Coronavirus pandemic and resultant restrictions has not halted the success of the Foundation Apprenticeship programme in Aberdeenshire. Coursework was moved online during lockdowns and pupils have completed the necessary tasks using a blend of virtual and face-to-face learning. Whilst opportunities for in-person work placements have been limited, the service has adapted to give all students the experience of online working.

Feedback from pupils, parents and schools has been very positive. A total of 91% of Foundation Apprentices were satisfied with their overall experience; 70% of parents felt the overall Foundation Apprentice experience for their son or daughter was excellent.

Laurence Findlay, Aberdeenshire Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services, said: “I am absolutely delighted to see the Foundation Apprenticeship programme in Aberdeenshire go from strength to strength and its success has not even been halted by a global pandemic.

“Foundation Apprenticeships give young people the skills they need to succeed either by obtaining employment or the grades needed to complete further or higher education qualifications. I for one am looking forward to seeing this programme flourishing in the coming months. Keep up the good work!”

Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Education, Vincent Docherty, added: “It is so pleasing to see the partnership work between the council, employers, training providers, colleges, pupils and parents ensuring young people receive the training and skills they need to realise their dreams and potential.”

The Foundation Apprenticeship qualification is aimed at senior pupils and combines in class or online learning with a work-related placement in which they hone their professional skills. It is equivalent to Higher, with many universities, colleges and workplaces counting it as an A pass at Higher or even two Highers towards entry requirements.

The report is available in full by visiting: Aberdeenshire Council - Committees and Meetings webpage.

You can also watch a webcast of the Education and Children’s Services Committee by visiting https://aberdeenshire.public-i.tv/core/portal/home