About us

Find out about Scottish Apprenticeships and Skills Development Scotland's role in delivering them.

Skills Development Scotland's role

Scottish Apprenticeships benefit businesses, individuals and the Scottish economy. Apprenticeship jobs give people the chance to work, learn and earn to get the skills employers want. They give employers the critical skills to adapt, sustain and strengthen their business. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) administers Scottish Apprenticeships on behalf of Scottish Government, which incorporate:

  • Foundation Apprenticeships

  • Modern Apprenticeships

  • Graduate Apprenticeships

SDS is Scotland’s national skills body. It’s our job to help create a skilled workforce that’s ready to face the future.  

We have more than 1,400 colleagues across the country who work in schools, career centres and offices. Whether it’s face-to-face, over the phone or online support, all of us are committed to helping people find rewarding careers. 


About apprenticeships

An apprenticeship is when someone works towards a qualification on the job. Apprentices work with experienced colleagues on real projects while putting into practice what they learn. Learning providers can be colleges, universities, independent learning providers or local authorities.

Benefits of apprenticeships

Employers can develop their existing staff or find and grow new talent. Apprenticeships create a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce. They can tackle possible skills gaps, boost productivity and help a business stay competitive. 

We work closely with Scotland’s industries to make sure apprenticeships meet their needs. We also administer the funding for apprenticeships training, on behalf of the Scottish Government.  

Find out how you can get involved as an individual, employer or learning provider.

Discover how apprenticeships are developed

Apprenticeship development

Apprenticeship development involves employers, apprentices and people from different backgrounds. Through practical workshops, groups and consultation we develop apprenticeships that provides essential skills.

Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board

The Board is led by employers and representatives from different industry bodies. Find out about their role in the development of apprenticeships.

Apprenticeship Approvals Group

The group assesses and approves our new and existing apprenticeships. Find out more about its role and members.

About each apprenticeship

Foundation Apprenticeships

For pupils in S3 to S6. They choose this qualification as part of their subject choices and work with employers. 

Modern Apprenticeships

Primarily aimed at people from statutory school leaving age up to 24, although there's no upper age limit. A Modern Apprentice is employed and works towards a qualification with a college or learning provider. 

Graduate Apprenticeships

For anyone who is statutory school leaving age or above – there's no upper age limit. A Graduate Apprentice is employed and works full-time while gaining an Honours or Masters degree.

Contact us

If you have any questions about apprenticeships in Scotland, you can contact us and we'll be happy to help. Visit our contact page or go straight to our forms using these links for apprentices or employers.


Thinking about becoming an apprentice? Have any questions about an apprenticeship you're currently doing? You can contact our advisers for advice and guidance.

If you'd rather speak to someone straight away, give us a call on 0800 917 8000.


Do you employ or are you thinking of employing an apprentice and have questions about what's involved?

Get in touch online and one of our expert advisers will be able to help you. Or call us on 0800 783 6000 if you'd like to speak to our team.

European Social Fund

Skills Development Scotland receives funding from the European Social Fund for the expansion of apprenticeships. Although we are no longer part of the EU, SDS will continue to receive funds until 2023. A condition of the funding is that SDS includes ESF branding on certain publicity material, including TV adverts.