Short summary

Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) is by Youth Employment Strategy of Scottish Government. It is a seven-year programme launched in December 2014 and its primary aims are to better prepare children and young people between 3 and 24 for the world of work, strengthening links between businesses and education and reducing youth unemployment by 40% in Scotland by 2021. The Government sees DYW together with Curriculum for Excellence and GIRFEC (Getting it Right for Every Child) as the three interrelated drivers of its wider ambitions for Scottish Education. DYW is designed to improve the pathways between young people and future employment by supporting skills development from early years to the senior phase of secondary education and beyond.

 The vision of the programme is to develop Scotland’s young workforce by providing young people with such a learning process which is directly relevant to getting a job, benefiting individuals and improving the economy through increased youth employment. It intends to help develop a more diverse and representative workforce and achieve better outcomes for all learners, by reducing inequalities, especially those ones related to gender, disability, race and experience of care. It strengthens the need for collaboration and partnership in designing and planning the curriculum in local areas and regions. Partners include Skills Development Scotland, local and school based staff, regional DYW employers’ groups, colleges and universities, community learning and development (CLD).

Context of good practice

Children and young people of the same age attend the same school type in Scotland. Nurseries make up the lowest level of the comprehensive school system – this level is not obligatory to attend but it takes in wider and wider circles of children. Children at an age of five start attending primary schools (P1-P7) which is uniform for everybody and consists of seven years. The first three years of secondary schools (S1-S6) is also uniform. The period of broad general education in a wider sense is settled by grade three. The learning pathways become differentiated during the senior phase (S4-6) which is preceded by appropriate subject choice corresponding to the future life vision of individuals at the end of S3.

 Statutory compulsory education lasts until the age of 16, the majority of young people stay however within the frames of formal education until 17-18 years. Half of the students do so because they want to join higher education. The other half is still undecided what to do after finishing secondary school and they are often afraid of not finding a job. Universities offer possibilities for higher education. Most of the professions can be acquired at colleges – at multiple levels – or by work-related contractual training. 

Main characteristics of the challenge, description of the target group

Unemployment highly increased in Scotland during the economic crisis in 2008, as in other countries in Europe. The ratio of youth unemployment did not decrease significantly 4-5 years later when the pressure of the crisis began to ease. This trend has made it clear for everybody that the symptomatic treatment of the problem was not enough: a system-wide change was required. It was necessary to bridge the gap between the worlds of education and work. 

 The importance of this was confirmed by experience that young people not wishing to attend higher education courses – in the absence of realistic objectives – often become bored and frustrated during their last secondary school years perceived as a ‘parking lot’.

 It was also perceived as a problem that young people decided on their future during the period of subject choice – due to the fact that in their secondary school years they barely met the world of work – that they did not have proper information. So it was later revealed to many, that they had not gone in the right direction. It was partly due to this context, that many young people tried to enter the labour market after finishing secondary school without having appropriate plans and skills for employability – and met failure in most of the cases.

 1. Preparation and strategic planning

 The government established the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce in January 2013 which wanted to find answers for the questions as follows:

  • How to develop a high-standard vocational training system which should organically supplement high quality tertiary education in Scotland?
  • What to do that the worlds of education and work should be more closely linked than before?
  • How to create a culture of real partnership between employers and education actors? How to achieve that representatives of work consider themselves as co-designers of education and not just as consumers of ‘products’ issued by school.

 The members of the Commission met more than 400 people nationwide. Apart from meeting managers of educational and vocational institutions, local authorities and enterprises, they personally talked to a lot of young people. The finale report was entitled Education Working for All and it offered 39 recommendations for the government. It was published in summer of 2014. The government reacted to the proposals of the Commission by preparing Developing the Young Workforce – Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy (DYW) and a seven-year implementation plan in December 2014.The strategy focused on 50 percentage of young people who did not want to attend university courses. It contained important targets as follows:



  • Young people need to be prepared for the world of work in time. They need to know sooner what opportunities the modern economy offers them before having to decide about the subject choice for the senior phase of secondary school.
  • By the time they reach senior phase, young people should acquire the basic skills for employability.
  • New emerging partnerships between secondary schools, colleges and workplaces can establish the frame for vocational learning.
  • Apprenticeship programmes must be operated as to focus on the needs of quality vocational training and the economy at the same time.
  • Economic actors must be committed to education, since they also benefit if young people make more informed career choices. Developing local curricula and offering work experiences for young people can be an important terrain of co-operation between schools and enterprises.

 DYW strategy aims at developing a mixed type education system – open both for higher education and vocational training – which emphasizes equal opportunities and social justice in its future vision. The document firmly believes that there is close connection between social mobility and employment in decent work and if a society offers a chance for all, it is also an important support for a strong economy. In order to achieve the objectives, the government has established constructive partnership with Communities of Scottish Local Authorities, (COSLA) –  which maintains most of schools in the country –, emphasizing that changes can only be achieved together.  The representatives of central management and local authorities have to work as tandem in supporting young people.  Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has become the main programme manager and network coordinator.



2. Description of the main activities & the pedagogical approach used

According to National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan (2019) which sets the scope for education policy, the government – besides Curriculum for Excellence (CfE, 2006) and Getting it Right for Every Child (GIRFEC, 2010) – considers DYW programme today as one of the three pillars supporting  Scottish education system. That is why the guides and various materials of the programme are integral to CfE values and to Skills for learning, skills for life and skills for work (2009) – as part of the series: Building the Curriculum – which supports the implementation of CfE.  





DYW programme expects every student to acquire the Employability Award competence element – described by Scottish Credit and Qualification Framework (SCQF) – by the end of the third year of secondary education which settles broad general education. This competence element helps students find a job. They can apply, get and keep a job. That is why Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) has been an important and cooperating actor of development all along. A number of guides and online materials were prepared during the implementation period under the management of Scotland’s national skills agency. Various activities have supported the realization of targets and structural changes.






 2.1. Career Management Skills Framework

 From a pedagogical point of view, DYW programme was based on Career Management Skills Framework for Scotland. The framework divided career competences as learning targets into four large categories connected to 17 content fields. (See detailed description in Annex B of the framework.)





Knowing who you are and how you fit into society

·       I develop and maintain a positive self-image.


·       I maintain a balance that is right for me in my life, learning and work roles.


·       I adapt my behaviour appropriately to fit a variety of contexts.


·       I am aware of how I change and grow throughout life.


·       I make positive career decisions.




Knowing what you are good at, and how to make the most of those strengths


·       I am aware of my skills, strengths and achievements.


·       I build on my strengths and achievements.


·       I am confident, resilient and able to learn when things do not go well or as expected.


·       I draw on my experiences and on formal and informal learning opportunities to inform and support my career choices.




Knowing where you could go in life and how to get there


·       I understand that there is a wide variety of learning and work opportunities that I can explore and are open to me.


·       I know how to find and evaluate information and support to help my career development.


·       I am confident in responding to and managing change within my life and work roles.


·       I am creative and enterprising in the way I approach my career development.


·       I identify how my life, my work, my community and my society interact.




Knowing how to build relationships, ask for help and make the most of your social and professional network


·       I interact confidently and effectively with others to build relationships.


·       I use information and relationships to secure, create and maintain work.


·       I develop and maintain a range of relationships that are important for my career journey.




2.2. The most important guides of DYW programme

 The first versions of guides supporting career-building were prepared in 2015. After analysing initial experiences, they were reviewed and finalized in 2017.

 DYW Career Education Standard (3-18) was prepared for nurseries and schools. It informs the practitioners about the targets of the programme, demonstrates how it fits into the basic documents of regulating education and outlines in which fields it will support children’s development. It reviews all the expectations concerning parents, teachers, employers and the agency directing the implementation of the programme – in order to make career orientation successful. The document defines the notions applied in the programme. By using the statements ‘I can…’, it describes the competencies children will have to acquire in an optimal case by the end of P1, P4 and P7 phase and by the time broad general education and senior phase comes to end, respectively.


 DYW Work placement standard offers help to think over of how to arrange the possibilities of work experiences for learners aged 3-18. With a variety of ideas, the document demonstrates the desirable structure of this learning type. It describes how students will need to prepare for the activity, what will happen to them at workplaces and how they should elaborate experiences. The same three stages of action are outlined by the guide from the point of view of workplaces, parents, schools and local authorities. The Appendix reviews how work placement has attributed to Scottish education so far and what changes are expected from DYW programme in this field. The text emphasizes: “Work placements are an aspect of learning that all young people are entitled to experience as part a coherent curriculum from 3-18.” (p21)


 DYW Guidance on School / Employer Partnerships, the third piece of the series advises on the development of partnership between schools and employers. The advantages of such a partnership are presented first from the point of view of schools and young people and then of employers. It outlines what a good partnership looks like, how to develop it and how to ensure and maintain quality in partnerships. The guide assures employers if they already have this type of relationship they do not have to replace it with new ones. The degree of involvement into education can be either extensive or small. „What matters is that it brings mutual benefit to your business and the young people who are the workforce of tomorrow.” (p8) Finally, the document also covers of how DYW Regional Groups and local authorities in the context of this task can support the development and operation of such partnerships.


 In parallel with the guidelines, a multi-element set of materials –  that can be processed by independent learning –  has been completed for teachers which will guide them step by step though the details of new expectations. In addition to information, they are helped with questions to reflect their own implementation tasks related to the programme.


 Since education policy was designed to integrate DYW programme into curriculum, the new expectations were incorporated into the internal and external assessment of schools by using the document’s criteria entitled How good is our school? In addition to monitoring progress, HMIE (Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education) was also involved.




 2.3. Starting vocational learning pathways from secondary schools

DYW programme provides an effort to create the opportunity that young people can chose not only academic, but also vocational direction during the senior phase of their secondary studies while other school activities continue to be carried out with their peers. Thus, different learning paths will not separate the members of each age group.

 Secondary school apprenticeship

 Modern Apprenticeships (MA) programme which has been working successfully in Scotland for years and offering work-based learning opportunities was extended to the secondary school age group under DYW programme. The creation of Foundation Apprenticeships (FA) system was preceded by international research. They wanted to find models in OECD countries which were simultaneously characterized by the low level of youth unemployment and high level of productivity.  Analysts found strong correlation between economic growth and mixed type school system in which classroom and work experience are presented side by side. 

[Source: Foundation Apprenticeships: Early Progress and Learning Insights. Pathfinder Activity, Cohort 1 (2016-2018) and Cohort 2 (2017-2019).Published on 20th March 2018. Forwort.]



 The offers of FA programmes developed in cooperation between economic operators and the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) – with a step-by-step expansion of contents. The available professional directions in autumn 2020 were: Accountancy. Engineering. Scientific technologies. Business skills. Financial services. Social services children and young people. Civil engineering. Food and drink technologies. Social services and health care. Creative and digital media. Hardware and system support. Software development.



 The main components of learning in each case were: (a) basic professional knowledge of the field, (b) certain transversal skills, (c) application of competence acquired in real work conditions. Specific theoretical and practical knowledge varies by field, while transversal skills are the same in all courses: communication, problem solving, working with others and time management. They are the skills that employers have missed the most in young people so far who wanted to find employment.

 The typical period of study for FA programmes is two years, linked to S5 and S6 of secondary school. The first year is filled with the development of the most important skills and basic knowledge usually organized by a college. In the second year, students spend most of their time outside the classroom working for companies. Their progress in college and companies is continuously assessed which allows them not to take formal exams at the end of the course. Their results, together with the assessment of other school achievements, will be included in their final certificate. Experience shows that in addition to proven skills, young people also acquire a number of meta-skills this way which can be used in a wide variety of environments. For example: reflexivity, search for causation, problem solving, patience, organizational skills, confidence or effective communication.

 Information about programmes is offered by webpage

What kind of interest can the specific vocational direction be recommended to? What occupations and jobs are associated with it? What skills are most needed in the area? What about earnings, education and career opportunities? How many people are currently employed in the area and what characterises the needs of the workforce over the next five years? Etc.


 After completing FA programme in secondary school, there are basically three paths open to young people:

·       They can start working in the programme area familiar to them.

·       They can continue vocational training while they are on the job in the framework of Modern Apprenticeships (MA),or at higher level of Graduate Apprenticeships (GA). Both types match the output points of content-appropriate FA programme, thus the qualifications obtained can be taken into account. 

·       They can continue studying at colleges or universities (if they comply with the input requirements there).



 In the long term, Scottish policy aims to create a coherent system of work-based learning pathways – with a wide range of input and output points and high level of interoperability between different qualifications. The development is supported by Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB) of employers. The main task of the board is to ensure that the full programme should meet the needs of economy, standards of decent work and transparent operation. Their activity can lead companies to trust that young people will acquire the rights skills. And young people can trust that their training will provide them with the necessary provision to successfully work in the selected area.


 Transforming local curricula

 In order for secondary schools to be able to connect to the options above, they had to significantly modify the local curriculum of senior phase. Self-assessment criteria help them improve this process on a continuous basis, on which to weigh how well they use the new opportunity for their students: Do they respond adequately to the needs of all their students? Are their students adequately involved in planning their learning pathways? Do they cooperate well with their partners and can they learn together? Are they innovative enough when creating opportunities for young people? Do their activities meet the criteria of equal opportunities (for example, in case of gender, ethnic minorities, disabled and pupils in need of care)? Etc.


2.4. External support for career building

Career guidance for schools is supported by Career Services as part Skills Development Scotland whose budget and staff were significantly increased in 2015.  Their activities are based on the same standards as those of schools.


VIDEO: Career Management Skills

 In connection with school education, the experts of network have given personal and online advice for students, parents and teachers either individually or in group forms. The types of services associated with school grades were in autumn 2020 as follows: 
















Coaching guidance one-to-one session(s)for those who would benefit most from intensive support


Group activity



for P7-S1 transition

making informed subject choices

senior phase option choices



One-to-one session focused around subject choices

Transition support for leavers yet to secure post-school opportunity


Drop-in service – Speak to school Career Advisor


Wide range of tools, resources, information and advice to support development of Career Management Skills and effective career planning

(My World of Work -  





Find a Foundation, Modern or Graduate level Apprenticeship



 Under DYW programme, each secondary school has at least one advisor who works closely with teachers in order to show the skills of career building in classrooms. In addition to the management of group sessions and individual counselling, their activities include the development of resources for teachers' self-training, conducting professional workshops and developing lesson plans with teachers from the 5th grade of primary school onwards.

 The website My World of Work, which supports career guidance and fits into DYW programme, wants to be a reliable starting point for all stages of career building from school age on. The youth section provides an opportunity to assess individual skills and interests, as well as to get information about different career paths. One can select specific vocational or university courses from the database, but one can also apply for current jobs. In addition to presenting the possibilities, young people can also find assistance here which will give them clues to take concrete steps – whether it's filling out an application form, writing a CV or preparing for an interview.


Cooperating with 30 schools, Skills Development Scotland has developed an ambassador programme that works nationally today. In this context, young people are prepared to disseminate information available on the website to their peers, parents and teachers in their own schools or help small children start thinking about their own abilities. A total of 2794 ambassadors operated in 69 secondary schools in Scotland by 2018.



Success factors and processes

DYW programme guide describes in a clear way who needs to do what in order to achieve goals.

 Parents must work in partnership with schools. They should be aware of the development of their child's skills and current employment opportunities. They need to talk regularly with their children about their desires. They should evaluate their potential learning pathways with teachers. They must be prepared to use websites to obtain information and if necessary, to contact relevant career advisers.

Teachers should cooperate with anyone who can contribute to the personalised support of young people. They should encourage learners to develop their skills and self-assessment. They need to know where to find up-to-date labour market information. They should provide students with appropriate learning opportunities connected to the world of work – presenting the possibilities of employment as an employee, entrepreneur and self-employed person.They must help young people understand who is responsible for what in the world of work.  They must support them in using relevant digital resources, in particular the website My World of Work. They must encourage them to take into account a wide range of aspects thinking about future and recognize the fastest-growing areas in the world of work.


 Employers should play a role in planning and organising school learning related to the world of work. They can organize work visits, presentations, take on mentoring roles and provide various activity opportunities for young people. It is important that they can show the opportunities offered by their own sector and help learners understand what the labour market expects them to do.

 It is up to the staff of Skills Development Scotland to provide continuous and up-to-date access to information for the world of work. The agency also concludes agreements with individual schools to ensure that spending central funds be as closely connected as possible to local strengths and needs. It develops guides and various materials for the various actors involved in the process. It runs Scotland’s Career Services, as part of which it provides assistance to schools, teachers, parents and pupils in a number of ways.


 Twenty-one DYW regional groups, established in 2015, are the special promoters of the implementation of the programme to bridge the gap between education and employers in their own area. They aim to provide leadership and a single point of contact and support to facilitate increased engagement between employers and education providers, particularly schools and colleges.

The scheduled time was originally seven years. Continuous monitoring experience has however shown that this period was not sufficient for implementing all sub-areas. The planned date of completion was originally 2021, and the professional discussion of the extension had already begun. Nowadays, however, as a result of the COVID epidemic, it is almost certain that this will happen.


Impact of measures taken

At the start of the DYW programme, the government committed itself to provide a comprehensive picture of its progress each year. In several sub-areas, the results will be examined separately, too. Performance indicators were attached to the strategy as a supplement.


 Five general reports were produced by mid-2020. Four additional analyses gave a picture of the development of the Foundation Apprenticeships options. The integration of the three standards of career management into school work was the subject of an independent study. Every year there were summaries of Career Services. National representative research surveyed parents' experiences and opinions. Case studies analysed the activities of regional groups to help build a relationship between education and work. The school inspection continued to monitor the implementation of DYW programme. In autumn 2018, the Education and Skills Committee of the Scottish Parliament completed its research on young people and stakeholders and has processed all reports generated so far. It gave an overall assessment of the programme's situation and put forward corrective proposals to the government. On this basis, the main results identified by the first half of 2020 were as follows:

  • The national network of career services has been established, whose advisors are now present in all schools in the country.
  • The local curricula have been modified in schools to focus on the development of career management skills and to open up vocational learning pathways.

 A case study of curriculum evolution (Kingussie High School. 13/14 – 18/19)

In: DYW – Fourth Annual Progress Report 2017-2018. PDF pp17-18



·All local authorities and colleges offer Foundation Apprenticeship programmes to young people today. In the first four years of operation, 90 percentages of secondary schools entered the programme, which meant a total of 6,570 pupils at national level. In addition to the colleges, 482 companies joined the training. The FA Progress Report March 2020 details the process as follows: 


  • 91% of learners ‘in-training’ said they would recommend the Foundation Apprenticeship to a friend or family member.
  • They were most satisfied with the following: confidence (94%),teamwork (93%),problem solving (90%),developed skills in the workplace (78%),clearer idea on career (75%),gain a qualification (65%),gain work experience (60%),get a head start on career path (57%).
  • A large proportion of FA Employers report that their FA achievers improved the following skills as a result of the FA: communication skills (83%),confidence (90%),team work (87%),problem solving skills (77%),organisational skills (76%).
  • 97% of the employers participating in the programme said in 2020, they would consider using FAs in the future. 

[Source: p9]

The annual report on the work of Career Service issued in 2018 says that 321 career advisors worked at the network offices across the country who supported over 238,000 students learning in 359 secondary schools. This also meant that 24 000 teachers and hundreds of thousands of parents were reached in some way. According to surveys, 96% of the directors were satisfied with the service their school received. The most important results of school year 2017/2018 in terms of numbers were as follows.


  • During the transitioning from P7 to S1, from elementary school to secondary school, 95% of the students received a group session.
  • 90% of students in S2 and 92% in S3 received individual or group support.
  • 84% of students making subject choices in S2/S3 had one-to-one support and 80% of S3 pupils with the greatest need received extra one-to-one support. 97% of pupils and 99% of parents were satisfied with the subject choices interview.
  • More than 92 thousand pupils were given face to face advice in S4-S6 across Scotland. 81% of S4-S6 pupils felt that their careers adviser supported them to make their own decisions and take control of their career. 80% felt that they were encouraged by them to aim high for their future career.
  • About 39 thousand S4-S6 pupils were identified for targeted support and 96% of them received one-to-one coaching guidance.
  • 96% of head teachers were satisfied with the services provided to their school.

[Source: pp13-14]


Lessons learned

The implementation of the DYW programme is monitored on several channels. The reports point to possible obstacles to progress in a relatively short period of time and if necessary, the government will seek to intervene quickly to resolve the problems. Experience has shown that they have faced difficulties of informational, organisational and cultural nature.

 The review of the implementation of career education and work placement standards showed in 2017 that the process started rather slowly. Although the leaders knew and considered it good, the local authorities supported the programme, the practitioners were not aware of either the expectations or the opportunities after two years. Most teachers did not use standards for their work, and a third did not even know they did exist. The proportion of students who knew the documents was small – although they would have had an advantage. The majority of employers were also unaware of the expectations.


 The National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) published a series entitled ’In a Nutshell’ which has been extended in 2016 with a new review of the standard of career-building. This printed material has been sent to 700,000 locations, in other words, to every household where a school-aged child lived. A research carried out two years later however showed that the parents knew little about the expansion of secondary school learning pathways. Most of them were still convinced that their children would benefit from a certificate in the final phase of secondary school assigning them for university studies. The Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills therefore launched a 3-year Learning Together action plan in summer 2018, with the main objective of developing parental involvement and engagement. They stressed that parents were the number one teachers of children. This is why it is important for schools to develop meaningful cooperation with parents in which there should also be space for common thinking about vocational learning opportunities.




 The analyses have shown that the chances of vocational training being offered under senior phase will be undermined due to the fact that young people do not have to go toward universities, colleges and jobs at the same time and in the same way.

 The first question in every class is who wants to apply for higher education institutions.  Universities should be applied for throughout the United Kingdom in the framework of a single procedure managed by the Universities and College Admissions Service (UCAS). It takes several hours to fill out the application forms and it is important to meet the deadlines, so this will be given special attention everywhere. As it affects about half of the students, the pages are usually filled in class. College courses and workplaces can be however applied for later, at different times and through different procedures. Thus, those who do not apply for universities receive in a lawful manner less attention than their peers.


 It's not easy to set up a new type of schedule either. In the past, schools have generally divided the weekly time frame into thematic bands and students were able to choose the same academic subjects for 1-2 hours at different depths. Vocational training and work experience in external locations and getting there however requires more time to be available in an array. Moreover, depending on how many young people from a school start similar vocational studies, coordinated planning with other schools in the area may also be justified – in order to offer students as many opportunities as possible.

 Strengthening the relationship between economic and education actors is one of the priorities of the DYW programme. The size of the task is indicated by the fact that only less than 30% of the business world had some minimal contact with education in 2014. DYW regional groups were created to help the two sectors find each other, with the participation of the major companies’ representatives committed to the objectives of the programme. The first assessment of the work of the network took place in 2018. Experience has shown that employers have had hope that this will improve the employability of young people. It was relatively easy for them to undertake casual opportunities for schools. It was however difficult to ensure the employers’ participation in recurrent activities involving the curriculum and develop an enduring partnership with some schools.



 From the first plans that formed the basis of the DYW programme, the idea was constantly present in the documents that success required a change of approach to vocational learning. This has been promoted by a multitude of guides and communication actions, but the task seemed to be difficult. There is a widespread appreciation distinction between ’academic’ and ’vocational’ learning pathways. The latter one is essentially a synonym for ’non-academic’ in public thinking, which in itself refers to a value aspect. The choice is therefore asymmetrical. University is displayed as a way for those with good academic performance. Vocational training – including new FA programmes – is the way for those who perform less at school. Thus, the word ’vocational’ tells many people that it is second-rate compared to other learning paths.

 The continuation of this approach was supported by the education statistics system, which has managed information on higher education in a single and transparent database for a long time while the recording of data relating to vocational learning pathways is neither uniform nor quite transparent. Over the years, a number of experts have indicated that the chances of the DYW programme will be undermined, if secondary schools are judged only on the basis of how many people get into universities from there.

 Therefore, the transformation of the statistical system has begun. In 2020, data have appeared on uniform statistical tables showing the direction students' careers are going. From these you can see that since the beginning of the DYW programme the proportion of young people has gradually increased setting off for positive destinations and decreased for those who start their adult lives unemployed.








Positive destinations







Unemployed seeking







Number of leavers







Source: Summary Statistics for Attainment and Initial Leaver Destinations, No. 2:2020 Edition


Resources needed

The launch of the DYW strategy was heavily based on both EU and domestic resources. The framework opened with GBP 12 million in 2014-2015 and an additional 16.5 million was available as a source for implementing the programme in 2015-2016. The budget of Skills Development Scotland increased by GBP 1.5 million in 2015 to build a nationwide network of career services. Programme leaders have however stressed from the outset, that following the implementation phase,financial conditions for the operation of the system should be provided as part of the annual state budget.

 However, the effects of Brexit and later on those of pandemic COVID could not be anticipated which reached the country before the implementation process was completed. The official statements have however suggested, that despite considerable difficulties, the government wants to do everything in its power to preserve and enhance the success of the DYW programme so far.

 Details from the Letter of guidance 2019/2020 by Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills sent to Chair Skills Development Scotland:


 “In 2019/20, SDS should ensure that contracts are in place with partners to provide 5,000 opportunities for young people to undertake a Foundation Apprenticeship (FA),and maintain its focus, working with partners, to successfully embed these opportunities as a valued and integral part of the senior phase curriculum. FAs should continue to be recognised as a significant and sustainable offer in the senior phase, available in every local authority area in Scotland. (37.)

 Managing Local Authority and learning provider contracts will be crucial in delivering FA future ambitions and we will support SDS where there are challenges to underdelivery. You should work with Education Scotland, SQA, Local Authorities, schools, colleges and my officials, to ensure that pathways into Foundation Apprenticeships are fully embedded as an integral part of the curriculum offer in all schools and regions, building and extending existing good practice. (38.)

 I would like you to continue to collaborate with my officials at SG and other partners to review the design and delivery models for Foundation Apprenticeships to ensure that these maximise learner success and minimise the proportion of early leavers… (39.)

 Engaging employers is critical for FAs to be truly successful and SDS should work in partnership with the DYW National and Regional Groups, business organisations, Education Scotland, colleges and local authorities to secure employer engagement in schools and embed Foundation Apprenticeships as a key component of the senior phase curriculum offer. (40.)”


Any other information

Education Scotland – Delivering the Young Workforce


OECD (2020): Strengthening Skills in Scotland. OECD Review of the Apprenticeship System in Scotland, OECD, Paris



 Skills Development Scotland. Head Office

Monteith House, 11 George Square, Glasgow, G2 1DY.

Phone: +44 0141 285 6000


Developing Young Workforce National Advisory Group

Contact person:Trudi Jordan.

E-mail: Phone: +44 0141 242 0160


Prepared by Gönczöl, Enikő (education expert of EDUNET Foundation, Hungary)


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Trudi Jordan


Developing Young Workforce National Advisory Group

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