Due to the continuing very high uptake of Foundation Apprentices (FAs) Aberdeenshire will continue as a lead provider of the Skills Development Scotland qualifications for session 2022-2023.
In the 2021-2022 session over 650 pupils have benefitted from Aberdeenshire’s Foundation Apprenticeship experience while a further 37 Aberdeenshire school pupils are completing the qualifications at NEScol.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Foundation Apprenticeship programme has been widely praised, including Education Scotland as part of the national review. The Foundation Apprenticeship programme offer in Aberdeenshire is seen as having numerous standout strengths with real innovation and impact on ensuring positive outcomes for young people.
There has also been praise for the council’s Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Strategy and the quality of the central DYW team which inspectors said had real leadership, confidence and experience which provided clear focus.
The quality and strength of partner providers who are fully committed to getting the very best for young people was also commended.
Innovative solutions were found to meet the challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic. For example, Foundation Apprentices undertaking placements with the NHS and Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership gained experience at vaccination centres when placements with the NHS wards were unavailable.
Work Based Challenge Units and Industry Options were developed where in-person work placements were not possible. ‘Simulated’ work environments, online employment opportunities, and internal employers also gave Foundation Apprentices the skills and experience needed to meet their course requirements.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Director of Education and Children’s Services, Laurence Findlay, said: “It is fantastic to see the continued success of Aberdeenshire’s Foundation Apprenticeship programme which is fast gaining a national reputation for offering best practice.
“It is hugely pleasing and significant that a national inspection body like HMIE has praised this programme. I am looking forward to seeing the programme continue to go from strength to strength helping young people across Aberdeenshire gain the experience they need to find employment or achieve further study.”
Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Education Vincent Docherty added: “I am delighted about the ongoing progress of our Foundation Apprenticeship programme. It is very impressive that despite a global pandemic the team have found innovative solutions to offer training and experience to young people.”