Foundation Apprenticeships - Livestream Q+A

At 7:30pm on Monday 17th February, there will be a Livestream Q+A (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) for any young people and/or parents who may be interested in finding out what Foundation Apprenticeships the Comhairle has to offer for the coming year.

In 2019, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and partners secured a Skills Development Scotland contract to the value of £570K to support the delivery of Foundation Apprenticeships for the 2019/20 academic year and beyond.

Foundation Apprenticeships form an offer within the senior phase of secondary education and provides the appropriate underpinning knowledge and experience to enable young people to progress to a modern and graduate apprenticeship programmes within the local economy and nationally. 

The panel for the Live Q+A (Opens in a new window or downloads a file), which will share more information on the scheme with parents and pupils, will consist of Dolina Smith (Apprenticeship Manager, CnES), Iain MacMillan (Principal of the Lews Castle College), Angus Maclennan (Head teacher at e-Sgoil), Gordon Young (Head teacher of Sgoil Lionacleit), Hamish Scott (First year Foundation Apprentice in Creative Digital Media (Gàidhlig), Sir E Scott), Megan Murray (First Year ChildCare Apprentice, The Nicolson Institute) and Seumus MacRae (First Year Engineering, Sgoil Lionacleit)

Up to 105 places on seven Foundation Apprenticeships will be available to pupils entering S4 and S5 in 2020 - in Castlebay School, Sgoil Lionacleit, Sir E Scott School and The Nicolson Institute. 

15 places are available in each of the following sectors starting from June. For the first time, the Comhairle will also be offering one year Foundation Apprentices. These have been chosen in response to pupil demand and opportunities for further/higher education/training and jobs.

Business Skills

If you like ICT, business management and working with people, a career in business might be for you.

Creative & Digital Media (delivered in both English and Gàidhlig)

Does working in film, TV, Radio, publishing, or on computer games and online media appeal to you? If so, why not gain skills and qualifications in creative & digital media.


Interested in engineering? If you would you like to be involved in engineering-operations and systems, then this is the apprenticeship for you.

Food and Drink Technologies

The growing food and drink industry locally and nationally serves a wide selection of exciting career opportunities from food science to environmental health.

Social Services Children and Young People

Do you enjoy working with young people, making sure they stay healthy and happy? Then this is the apprenticeship for you – with a huge demand for skilled people in this sector with ample job opportunities and career progression pathways open on completion of the programme.

Social Services and HealthCare

Are you interested in a career in caring? This could be the one for you - get real life experience in the care sector that will allow you to work in the industry straight from school, progress to an SVQ 3 through the Modern Apprenticeship, or progress to a vocational degree such as Nursing or Social Work.

ICT Software

Is a career in the ever changing digital world for you?  Are you interested in finding out what the skills requirement is to create, software for gaming, virtual reality or cyber technology?  If so, this apprenticeship route is for you, gain the skills, qualification and work experience that will equip you to work in the industry, move into a Modern Apprenticeship or go onto Further/Higher Education.   

Cllr Angus McCormack, Chairman of Education, Skills and Children’s Services: “This funding, supported by our charter development programme with Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Bòrd na Gàidhlig (BnG), Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) programme and European Structural Funding (ESF) funding application, provides a major opportunity for local economic development, education, training and employment opportunities for our young people. I would encourage young people who may be looking to go to university or into graduate placements, to consider the exciting opportunities that are presented through this scheme.

“For each of the past five years, young people have left CnES schools with SQA vocational qualifications at SCQF5 at three times the national average.  Concordantly post-school positive and sustained destinations, particularly into employment and university are high.”

Dolina Smith, Apprenticeship Manger, said: “Foundation Apprenticeships offer young people in the Western Isles the chance to develop the future skills needed to grow the local economy.  They also provide a new and innovative career pathway which encourages more young people to stay on the islands with the offer of a job closer to home.

“Foundation Apprenticeships are closing the gap between the classroom and the workplace, with pupils realising the benefits of work based learning. Employers are telling us that pupils who have taken a Foundation Apprenticeship are more job ready and better qualified candidates for apprenticeships and jobs.”