Is a Modern Apprenticeship right for my child?

Reading time: About 3 mins

Deciding what to do when they leave school is one of the biggest choices your child will make. 

In order to help them, you need to be informed about the options they have. 

A Modern Apprenticeship is one choice – but one you might feel you don’t know as much about compared to alternatives like a job, college or uni. 

You’ll find all of the basic information you need on the Apprenticeships page.

But to help you understand what an MA could offer your child, we’ve answered four big questions parents often have about apprenticeships. 

1. Aren’t apprenticeships just for traditional trades?

This is one of the most common misconceptions about Modern Apprenticeships. But it’s definitely not the case. You might be surprised at the number and variety of MAs on offer in Scotland. 

There are around 80 different types of MA. Your child could start their career with an apprenticeship in areas like science, healthcare, IT and digital, finance, fashion, arts, engineering, construction and renewable energy. There are roles in accountancy, journalism, cyber-security, sport, digital marketing and lots of other areas. 

You can find out about types of Modern Apprenticeships using the My career options search. And, by using their My World of Work account, your child can also find Modern Apprenticeships that would suit their skills, strengths, interests, ambition, education and experience.

2. How do the qualifications compare to a degree or college course?

By doing a Modern Apprenticeship, your child will work towards a qualification on the job. 

There are lots of different levels of MA, starting with qualifications at SVQ 2, all the way up to Professional Apprenticeships at SVQ 5 and above. These are mapped to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework,  so you can see how they compare to things like HNCs, honours degrees and graduate diplomas. 

That makes an MA is a great alternative to college or university – it all depends on what kind of environment your child would best develop in. They'll come out with not only a qualification, but the soft skills that employers really value.

3. What can my child do after they’ve finished an MA?

A Modern Apprenticeship can open up a lot of opportunities for your child. 

Research in 2012* found that 92% of MAs were in work six months after completing their apprenticeship – and 70% of them had been kept on by the same company.

Of the rest, 20% had found work with a new employer and 2% were self-employed. 

Two thirds (67%) of MAs reported that six months later, they were working at a higher level, for higher pay, and doing a job with more responsibilities, while 75% felt like they had better long-term career prospects thanks to their MA. 

There’s also the opportunity for further training. Some industries offer Modern Apprenticeships at several different levels, which employees work their way through. Other apprentices move on to eventually complete an HND or degree. 

4. How much does it cost?

If your child is aged 16-24, then nothing. The costs are met by the employer and Skills Development Scotland. 

They’ll also earn money as they learn.  And they won’t have to pay back student loans.

If they’re over 25 then there is government support for some MAs in key sectors. But others need to be funded by an employer who is willing to pay for the training.

*Source: SDS Modern Apprenticeship Outcomes report