Modern Apprenticeships

Your guide to Modern Apprenticeships in Scotland. Find out what’s available, how to find one, and how to apply.

What’s a Modern Apprenticeship?

Anyone aged 16 or over can become a Modern Apprentice. But what exactly is an MA? It means you'll:

  • Get a job – it’s a proper job with an employer. There are more than 80 types of MA, in all kinds of businesses – you could be working in anything from cyber security, TV production or tourism, to lab work, engineering or gamekeeping
  • Get paid – Modern Apprentices must be paid at least the minimum wage. The average weekly gross pay for an apprentices in Scotland is £249
  • Get qualified – you’ll come out of your apprenticeship with a qualification, as well as gaining skills and hands-on experience

Kick-start your career with a Modern Apprenticeship at

Types of Modern Apprenticeship

Use the My career options search to find different types of Modern Apprenticeships, and see how they fit in with Scotland's growth industries. Want to know which apprenticeships might suit you best? Your My World of Work account can help you find out.

What qualification will I get out of it?

At the end of your MA, you’ll get a qualification. Modern Apprenticeships are available at four different levels, all mapped to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). This means you can see exactly what you’ve achieved. Your qualification will be accredited by the Scottish Qualifications Authority Accreditation (SQA), so you can be sure that the skills, training and knowledge you get is relevant and up to date.

You’ll be learning on the job, but you might do training out of work as well – at a local college or specialist training provider.

While you’re doing your apprenticeship, you’ll also be developing five core skills that employers want:

  • Communication
  • Numeracy
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Problem Solving
  • Working with Others

Do I need to pay any fees?

If you’re aged between 16 and 24, your employer and Skills Development Scotland will meet the costs of your MA. You can learn, earn, and avoid getting into student debt.

25+? You could still train as a Modern Apprentice, but funding works differently. In certain key industries, government support is available for specific MAs.

These include:

  • Financial services
  • Tourism
  • Food and drink
  • Energy
  • Life science
  • Creative
  • Construction and building
  • Manufacturing and engineering
  • Transport

In other industries, your employer would have to meet the costs of training themselves.

What do I need to get in?

Some industries want apprentices who have three or more National 4s (or Standard Grades at general level) or above, but other employers don’t ask for any formal qualifications at all. Some will ask for previous experience in the industry, but for others you won't need it. Look at the different types of Modern Apprenticeship to find more information on entry requirements.

You might also need to sit an aptitude test when you apply. Our advice on aptitude tests should help. 

How to find a Modern Apprenticeship

Decided a Modern Apprenticeship is for you? Finding an MA is like any other job hunt - you need to know where to look. Luckily, pulls together all the latest MA vacancies. You can browse, search, and use the simple online form to apply.

Keep up to date with on:

I'm in a job

If you're already working, you could still become an MA. Talk to your employer - they may want to use a Modern Apprenticeship to help with your training.

Meet the apprentices

Loading the player...



Mohammad, Samantha, Jonathan and Megan do very different jobs, but they're all earning as they learn as MAs.

Find out what they think of their apprenticeships.

Watch more stories like this at

Where could it take me?

Your Modern Apprenticeship won’t limit what you can do in the future – but it’s likely to open up your opportunities. 

Our research shows** that most people (92% of those surveyed) who complete an apprenticeship are still in work six months later. And 70% of those former apprentices stick with the same employer, too.

In some industries, you can work your way up through an apprenticeship programme to the highest level of Professional Apprentice. In others, you might end up going on to an HND or degree course.

Worst case scenario? You come out at the end with a qualification and experience – both things that employers want to see on your CV. 

Want to take on an apprentice?

Skills Development Scotland can support you to employ a young person as a Modern Apprentice.

News and events

*Source: Apprenticeship pay survey 2014

** Source: Skills Development Scotland Modern Apprenticeship Outcomes survey 2012