Graduate apprenticeship: UWS collaborates with Skills Development Scotland

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UWS works closely with a variety of employers to deliver graduate apprenticeships.

By U2B Staff 

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The University of the West of Scotland’s collaboration with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is set to provide 130 Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) opportunities to fill a need in critical sectors requiring a skilled workforce.

The Graduate Apprenticeships that have been outlined include opportunities in Early Learning and Childcare which was created in response to the Scottish Government’s commitment to increasing funded childcare places.


Four other Graduate Apprenticeships have been announced in Software Development, Engineering Design and Manufacture, Civil Engineering, and Business Management. All Graduate Apprenticeships will begin in September 2020.

The Graduate Apprenticeship is a programme developed by Skills Development Scotland in collaboration with both industry and the higher education sector.

Realising the shortage of critical skills that have greatly affected productivity, this initiative will provide the opportunity for individuals to earn a Masters-level qualification while staying in paid-employment.


Under the Graduate Apprenticeships scheme, employers have the flexibility to customise the apprentice’s learning to best fit their business needs, which will give the apprentices a headstart and will allow them to contribute to productivity at a much earlier stage.

The university’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Craig Mahoney said that by working closely with industry, the university understands the challenges that employers face when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

Mahoney added that the university ensures that its graduates come out not only with a qualification but with the practical skills they need to thrive in the world of work.

“Our students have access to cutting-edge technology, high-quality learning facilities, sector-leading student support and academic staff whose teaching is informed by research. This, combined with employment and hands-on experience, gives our Graduate Apprentices a fantastic start in their careers,” Mahoney said.


SDS Director of Critical Skills and Occupations, Diane Greenlees said, “More and more Scottish employers are turning to Graduate Apprenticeships to meet their critical skills needs.

Greenlees added that Graduate Apprenticeships are industry-led and delivered through partnerships with universities across Scotland. This deployment strategy ensures that businesses have access to high-level skills and providing both new and existing employees with the opportunities to get a job and get a degree.

The university has worked with various employers to deliver Graduate Apprenticeships including key partner, Arnold Clark that has been a part of this scheme since 2017.

Head of Digital Solutions at Arnold Clark, David Peters said that apprentices from the university can expect a hands-on experience of the software development business from day one.

Peters added that the Graduate Apprenticeships provide various benefits to the business. The main benefit that he sees is the ability of the organisation to mould the apprentices to suit the uniqueness of the individual business.

“The success of Graduate Apprenticeship programmes is dependent on the three-way relationship between the employer, the University and the Graduate Apprentice,” said Peters.