Bridging the Skills Gap through Graduate Apprenticeships

Graduate Apprenticeships provide work-based learning opportunities for new and existing employees. They have been created in partnership with industry and the further and higher education sector. The apprenticeships combine academic knowledge with skills development to enable participants to become more effective and productive in the workplace.


The demand for diverse and adaptive skill sets in Scotland is ever-increasing. This is driven by a transformation in how and where people work, the transition towards net-zero and the fourth industrial revolution. Employer demand for workers is also increasing, but supply of talent is in decline. 


Graduate Apprenticeships were developed by Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council, in partnership with industry and further and higher education sectors in Scotland, in order to bridge the skills gaps, primarily in the STEM industry. By offering fully funded degree qualifications in high-demand sectors, Graduate Apprenticeships play an important role in responding to industry skills shortages, adapting to rapid changes, and driving economic growth.


An innovative way to attract, develop & retain top industry talent

ILaunched in 2017, Graduate Apprenticeships (GA) offer opportunities for participants - of any age, living and working in Scotland - to gain a fully funded university degree, while in paid employment.

Graduate Apprenticeships offer high quality work-based learning to strengthen the skills people and businesses need. From civil engineering to data science, software development and cyber security, our wide range of Edinburgh Napier GA courses have been developed in key sectors that need highly skilled employees, providing a pathway for new and existing staff to get a university degree while in paid employment.

For the apprentice, the GA programme offers a unique work-based learning approach. For many apprentices, they may have left school and gone straight into the workforce at the earliest opportunity because they struggled in a more traditional learning environment. With the current cost-of-living crisis, joining a GA programme provides the option to join a university course, while also in paid employment and receiving an income at the same time. The apprentices achieve many benefits from learning this way including increased earning potential, accelerated career progression, a debt-free degree and an increased professional network, both with employers and the peers from university.

Supporting business to address skills shortages 

For industry, the GA programme enables businesses to attract new talent and create a more diverse workplace, or develop the abilities of your current team, all while helping to address national skills shortages.

Edinburgh Napier University is one of the largest providers of Graduate Apprenticeships and a market leader in work-based learning in Scotland. We have formed successful working partnerships with many employers, ranging from micro-SMEs to multinational organisations. Our success is built on strong industry partnerships. When you partner with us, we will support your organisation throughout, and use our experience and resources to put you at the centre of what we do. Find out more >

Graduate Apprenticeships offer a unique value proposition to people who prefer a more practical approach to learning and they're ready to get into the world of work. What an apprenticeship does is offer them an option to join a university course while also having an income running at the same time.
Scott Killen, Edinburgh Napier University
Our IBM graduate apprentices spend one day a week at university, like a regular student, but the rest of the time, they are four days a week working in the real job at IBM - doing roles like software testers, DevOps engineers, software developers on real client-facing projects with client contact.
Charlotte Fisher Morecroft, IBM
Graduate apprenticeships, especially in the technology sector, are very innovative because you're getting that real-world experience. Obviously, technology moves very fast, so it's great to then have the real-world experience and also get then the base understanding at university as well.
Sula McDonald, Graduate Apprentice with IBM

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