occupational therapist giving talk to care students



Foundation Apprenticeships are work-based qualifications for senior phase pupils. They combine the best of academic and vocational learning in one single qualification.

The care sector has one of the fastest growing workforces in Scotland with over 199,600 social service workers in Scotland today working in a range of settings. One in 13 people employed in Scotland work in social services.

Social services is a challenging and rewarding career providing support and help to people who need it, helping them to live full and valued lives in the community. Social service workers can work with a variety of clients :

  • older people
  • children or adults with physical /sensory and/or learning disabilities
  • children or adults with autistic spectrum disorder/mental health problems

There are many different career opportunities and career pathways across this range of settings. Job roles in adult services include personal assistant, care assistant, support worker, supervisor, senior care worker, team leader, care home manager, centre manager and service manager.



  • SCQF 6



  • Virtual Schools Timetable or
  • Friday 0945 - 1600. Attend timetabled classes online for some of your learning and assessments. Also access online Brightspace or Google classrooms for self-directed study.


  • Highland Council Virtual School
  • Online learning platform - Webex and our virtual learning environment (VLE) called Brightspace.


  • 1-2 Years

Course content...

Our Foundation Apprenticeships can be completed over one or two years depending on your qualifications when you begin the course.

If you wish to apply for this course to be completed in one year, you will need to demonstrate a commitment and the ability to complete both the study and the work experience required within the year.  You should discuss this with your guidance teacher.

Year 1 - Starting in S5, you will complete one year of college led learning to gain a National Progression Award (NPA) in Social Services and Healthcare whilst making links with your work placement providers.

Year 2 - In S6, you will put your knowledge into practice in a real life work placement setting thus enabling you to continue your learning out of a classroom environment. Over this year, you will study a selection of SVQ 2 Social Services and Healthcare units.

If you are studying for this qualification in one year, then both the NPA and SVQ units will be covered. This will involve timetabled sessions for NPA plus additional time for placement completion.

What next...

On completion of the Foundation Apprenticeship, you will have the opportunity to move into employment in adult social services with an industry specific skill set and good knowledge of local employer’s requirements. Alternatively, you could progress onto HNC or degree levels of study which are offered by West Highland College UHI.

You will also be able to work towards registration with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC). There is a wide range of different career opportunities within social work and social care settings, such as care assistant, care worker, team leader, care home, and centre managers.


Entry requirements...

3 passes at National 5 level gained in S4/5 at C pass or above. (Ideally one should be a literary subject such as English, geography or psychology). You will need to demonstrate an understanding of the social services and healthcare sector and have an interest in working in this sector; demonstration of experience in this sector will be considered and each application will be considered on a case by case basis and have a satisfactory interview.

You will be required to undergo a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) check prior to placement. The college will assist you with this.