Do something different at school

So you’re in your 4th year of high school and it’s time to start thinking about your column choices, and essentially, what you want to do after school. It can be incredibly daunting, but there are choices open to you that go beyond the typical school classroom that can be really valuable to your future.

As part of one of your column choices you can choose a Foundation Apprenticeship (FA). These courses are at SCQF level 6 – the same level as a higher – but they also give you college learning and work experience while still at school. FA students come to college 2 afternoons per week and do a mixture of studying in the classroom and learning in a working environment. While your friends are at school, you could be doing work experience at top company. How amazing is that?!

After studying your FA, which lasts for two years (S5 and S6), you will have an additional qualification plus work experience to put on your CV, college or university application.

Here are the FAs you can study at Edinburgh College (starting in August) and a little bit about them. If you want more info, talk to your Guidance Teacher.

Creative and Digital Media

Do you love being creative? Have you thought about working in film, TV, radio, publishing, photography or online media? This FA combines technical skills, design and storytelling. You will gain a NPA in Creative and Digital Media at SCQF level 6, four work-based units from the Diploma in Creative and Digital Media at SCQF level 7 and a media project unit at SCQF level 6. Not to mention your work placement with a creative/digital employer to give you experience in a real working environment where you can put your skills to the test.


Accountants help individuals and organisations to keep track of their money, find new ways to grow their business and increase profitability. With this FA you will gain NPA Accountancy at SCQF level 6 and 3 units of SVQ AAT Advanced Diploma in Accounting at SCQF level 6. You will also have a work placement with an accountancy organisation to put what you have learnt into practice.

IT Software Development

Software development is behind every app you use and every computer you play. With this FA you will gain five units from the Diploma for IT and Telecommunications Professional at SCQF level 6 and NPA Software Development at SCQF level 6. If you are an avid gamer or coder this courses is ideal for taking your skills to the next level and bagging some work experience too!

Food and Drink Technology

The food and drink industry in Scotland is vast and rapidly expanding, serving up a tempting selection of exciting career opportunities. You will gain NPA Food Manufacture at SCQF level 6, the Awards in Health & Safety and Food Hygiene at SCQF level 5 and 5 units from the SVQ in Food and Drink Operations at SCQF 6 (work placement). You will also take part in a work placement at a hospitality organisation, developing your skills and expertise further for your future career.


Engineers help create everything from milk cartons to aeroplanes and wind turbines to machines. They find new, better ways to solve problems. With this FA you will gain NC Engineering Discipline at SCQF level 6, five units from SVQ2 in Performing Engineering Operations at SCQF level 5 and work related experience. Your work placement will also help you get to grips with the vast range of engineering career opportunities.

Civil Engineering

Our towns and cities are designed and built by civil engineers. They create everything from our tallest buildings, to canals, bridges and even electricity networks. You will gain NC Civil Engineering at SCQF level 6 and at least one unit from SVQ 3 in Construction Contracting Operations. The work placement included in the FA programme will build your knowledge and gives you hands on experience of a civil engineering working environment.

Business Skills

Business skills are at the heart of all organisations. A Foundation Apprentice in Business Skills is a great way to discover what a career in business would be like, and if its right for you – while you are still at school. You will gain NPA in Business with Information Technology, 4 units from SVQ in Business and Administration and a work placement at SCQF level 6. Your work placement could be in a wide range of business settings, great for understanding the career path you want to take in the business field.

Scientific Technologies (Laboratory Skills)

The life sciences and the related science industries are high-tech, innovative and highly diverse. You will gain NPA Scientific Technologies at SCQF level 6, SVQ in Laboratory and Associated Technical Activities (industrial science) at SCQF level 6. The work placement during your FA course will give you an insight into the life sciences industry and the career options available to you after school.

Financial Services

Financial services is a big business – especially in Edinburgh! From banking and insurance, to accountancy and credit unions, it’s about managing the money that keeps everything else ticking along. You will gain three units from the SVQ 3 in Providing Financial Services at SCQF level 6 and NPA in Financial Services at SCQF level 6. During your work experience you will get the chance to work alongside financial professionals to really understand what a career in the financial sector is like.

Do Foundation Apprenticeships sound like something you want to add to your school column choices? Contact your guidance teacher to complete an application form.

Skills Development Scotland, with support of the European Social Fund, has developed Foundation Apprenticeships which enable pupils in S5-S6 to complete elements of a Modern Apprenticeship while still at school. For further information visit or follow