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What apprenticeship can I do after my National Highers in Scotland?

Four apprentices or students gathered around a workstation looking at a computer monitor

If you have just taken or are about to take your Highers or Advanced Highers, you might be wondering what options there are for you. If you are leaving school, you could take an apprenticeship, which allows you to learn a trade with an employer, study part-time, earn a salary and gain a nationally recognised qualification. Here we explain more about the apprenticeship options you have in Scotland when you leave school.

What apprenticeship options are there in Scotland?

Apprenticeships in Scotland are slightly different to those in England, so if you are planning on staying in Scotland to do an apprenticeship after your Highers or Advanced Highers, it’s worth knowing what your options are. You may already have taken a Foundation apprenticeship in your 5th and 6th years at secondary school, so you could have an idea of what kind of career and apprenticeship you want to pursue.

What is a Scottish Modern apprenticeship?

A Modern Apprenticeship is the type of apprenticeship you are most likely to do as a school leaver in Scotland. They are for people aged 16 and over and are designed to help you gain skills, experience and qualifications in your chosen industry. Modern apprenticeships offer a salary and there are over 100 modern apprenticeships to choose from.

Applicants for modern apprenticeship positions would be expected to have National 5 grade passes at level C or above in Maths and English, as well as specific subjects related to the job. Construction modern apprenticeships include roles in civil engineering, plumbing and heating, health and safety and building surveying.

What is a Scottish Graduate apprenticeship?

Graduate Apprenticeships are one step up from modern apprenticeships. You will combine working for an employer with studying for a degree-level qualification and being paid a salary.

Entry onto a Graduate Apprenticeship is similar to the requirements for an undergraduate degree and will vary by course and institution. Highers are usually among the entry criteria. You will need to be a resident in Scotland in order to apply and have the right to live and work in Scotland too.

There are graduate apprenticeship opportunities available in a wide range of industries, including Construction and the Built Environment, Data Science, Engineering, Business Management and Cyber Security. 

What other options do I have for further study or training after my Highers?

You could take a course at a further education college or study for a degree at a university. Four Highers are usually needed for entry onto university degree courses, but grade levels will vary depending on the course and the university. Alternatively, you could take a training course, or do on-the-job training. If you’re unsure of your options, Skills Development Scotland will be able to help.

How do I apply for an apprenticeship in Scotland?

If you think an apprenticeship is right for you, and you live in Scotland, visit the Apprenticeships.scot website for more details about the various apprenticeship levels, entry requirements, case studies and to search for vacancies.

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