Foundation Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Technologies

Wednesday, May 02, 2018 - 15:00

A new Foundation Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Technologies is now available in Scotland and will help young people gain valuable work experience and industry recognised qualifications and skills while they’re still at school. 

Co-designed with employers, this Foundation Apprenticeship will help school pupils develop the skills they need to enter a career in the food and drink industry.

Foundation Apprentices are secondary school pupils who work on real projects with staff.   The young people develop the soft skills – like problem solving in a workplace, working with others and communicating with people – that employers need and that come from quality work experience.  That makes them better prepared for the workplace when they leave school, whatever career path they ultimately choose to follow.

Employers can decide what level of involvement they have in the Foundation Apprenticeship .This can be discussed with the learning provider offering the programme.

There is no financial cost to an employer because the learner is still at school. However, the investment of time: great or small, can bring lasting rewards with access to talented and driven young people for the workplace.

Pupils study a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of their school subjects usually over years S5 and S6 - the fifth and sixth year of secondary school in Scotland.

During the new Foundation Apprentice in Food and Drink Technologies, each pupil must complete a work placement of approximately a day a week in S6 with employers in the food and drink industry. Involvement with industry and employers is encouraged from the start of the programme.

The placement experience supports learners to build evidence needed to complete the units from a food and drink Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ). Block placements can also be arranged to suit your business needs.

Foundation Apprenticeships are one of the flagship projects of the Industry Skills Investment Plan and can provide a talent pipeline for the sector.

James Withers, Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive said:  “The food and drink Industry Skills Investment Plan is rooted in the skills agenda for the sector, recognising that unless we work in partnership with schools, colleges and employers then our ambitions for the sector will not be realised.  

“Skills play a huge role in the latest industry strategy, Ambition 2030, which aims to double the value of the sector, and Foundation Apprenticeships are a hugely important part of this strategy.  I call on all employers in the industry to find out more about the scheme and tap in to the undoubted talent that is out there.” 

Gerry McBride, Strategic Relations Manager – Food & Drink, Skills Development Scotland, said: “We need more people to regard a career in the food and drink industry as one which will be rewarding and offers a high quality career path.  Without such a career path then we will struggle to create the talent pipeline that will allow this key sector for Scotland to continue to develop.”

Justine Fosh, The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink Chief Executive said:  “Central to this is engaging with schools, colleges, further and higher education establishments, universities, training providers, skills bodies and employers.  And that is where Foundation Apprenticeships can help.  They bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to those tasks and they help young people build the skills the food and drink industry needs for the future.” 

The Foundation Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Technologies includes:

  • A National Progression Award (NPA) in Food Manufacturing at SCQF level 6
  • Awards in Health & Safety and Food Hygiene at SCQF level 5
  • Five units of an SVQ in Food and Drink Operations/SVQ in Food and Drink Technology at SCQF level 6
  • A substantial work placement

Example of course units include:

  • NPA
    - Food manufacturing: fundamentals of food science
    - Food manufacturing: food production
  • SVQ Units
    - Interpret and communicate information and data in food and drink operations
    - Contribute to continuous improvement of food safety in manufacture

Entry requirements

Pupils should have a good level of English and maths, as well as an interest and motivation to succeed within the food and drink sector. They should also have good communication and team working skills.

Potential apprentices are selected by their school and will undertake a recruitment process arranged by the learning provider. Employers are encouraged to get involved in this process.

Progression and development

Pupils will form the skills, knowledge, and competence to progress to employment in the food and drink sector via a Modern Apprenticeship, further vocational training or academic study.

For employers looking to hire, the Foundation Apprenticeship offers an opportunity to spot talented pupils and assess their skills over a longer period than a regular interview process would allow.

The Foundation Apprenticeship document can be accessed by following this link: