60 Foundation Apprenticeships Available in Western Isles

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and partners recently secured a Skills Development Scotland contract to the value of £570K to support the delivery of Foundation Apprenticeships for the 2019/20 academic year and beyond.

Foundation Apprenticeships form an offer within the senior phase of secondary education and provides the appropriate underpinning knowledge and experience to enable young people to progress to a modern and graduate apprenticeship programmes within the local economy and nationally. 

Roadshows will take place throughout the Western Isles, starting this week, at which representatives from the Comhairle, SDS and key employers will share more information on the scheme with parents and pupils:

  • The Nicolson Institute - Current S4 pupils - Tuesday 15th January

        Current S3 pupils - Friday 18th January

        All parents (5-7pm) - Thursday 17th January

  • Castlebay School - Current S3 & S4 Pupils - Tuesday 5th February

        All Parents (4-6pm) - Tuesday 5th February

  • Lionacleit School - Current S3 & S4 Pupils - Monday 4th February

       All parents (4-6pm) - Monday 4th February

  • Sir E Scott School - Current S3 & S4 Pupils - Tuesday 29th January

       All parents (4-6pm) - Tuesday 29th January

Up to 60 places on six Foundation Apprenticeships will be available to pupils entering S4 and S5 in 2019 - in Castlebay School, Sgoil Lionacleit, Sir E Scott School and The Nicolson Institute. 

10 places are available in each of the following sectors starting from June. These have been chosen in response to pupil demand and opportunities for further/higher education/training and jobs.

Business Skills

If you like ICT, business management and working with people, a career in business might be for you.

Creative & Digital Media

(delivered in both English and Gàidhlig)

Does working in film, TV , Radio, publishing, or on computer games and online media appeal to you? If so, why not gain skills and qualifications in creative & digital media.


Interested in engineering? If you would you like to be involved in engineering-operations and systems, then this is the apprenticeship for you.

Food and Drink Technologies

The growing food and drink industry locally and nationally serves a wide selection of exciting career opportunities from food science to environmental health.

Social Services Children and Young People

Do you enjoy working with young people, making sure they stay healthy and happy? Then this is the apprenticeship for you – with a huge demand for skilled people in this sector with ample job opportunities and career progression pathways open on completion of the programme.

Social Services and HealthCare

Are you interested in a career in caring? This could be the one for you - get real life experience in the care sector that will allow you to work in the industry straight from school, progress to an SVQ 3 through the Modern Apprenticeship, or progress to a vocational degree such as Nursing or Social Work.

Cllr Angus McCormack, Chairman of Education, Skills and Children’s Services: “This funding, supported by our charter development programme with Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG), Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) programme and European Structural Funding (ESF) funding application, provides a major opportunity for local economic development, education, training and employment opportunities for our young people. I would encourage young people who may be looking to go to university or into graduate placements, to consider the exciting opportunities that are presented through this scheme.

“For each of the past four years young people have left CnES schools with SQA vocational qualifications at SCQF5 at three times the national average.  Concordantly post-school positive and sustained destinations, particularly into employment and university are high.”

Skills Development Scotland Chief Executive, Damien Yeates said: “Foundation Apprenticeships offer young people in the Western Isles the chance to develop the future skills needed to grow the local economy.  They also provide a new and innovative career pathway which encourages more young people to stay on the islands with the offer of a job closer to home.

“Foundation Apprenticeships are closing the gap between the classroom and the workplace, with pupils realising the benefits of work based learning. Employers are telling us that pupils who have taken a Foundation Apprenticeship are more job ready and better qualified candidates for apprenticeships and jobs.”