2021 theme is Business Backing Talent

Date posted

8 February 2021


As one of the leading Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) learning providers in Scotland, Edinburgh Napier is supporting Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2021, running 1st – 5th March. 

Coordinated by Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2021 is a time to share the value and benefits apprenticeships can bring to businesses, individuals and the economy.

Graduate Apprenticeship graphic

This year’s theme is Business Backing Talent, to showcase the great things that happen when employers back talent through apprenticeships.  It’s never been more important to show our support for apprenticeships.  Businesses have adapted to challenging times. Employers and learning providers have innovated so apprentices can learn, achieve and progress, while businesses taking on apprentices have developed new and safe ways to recruit in their commitment to backing talent. 

Graduate Apprenticeships have been developed by Skills Development Scotland in partnership with industry and the further and higher education sectors. They offer a way for individuals to get a fully-funded university degree whilst in paid employment.  Graduate Apprenticeships are designed by employers and offered in key sectors that need highly skilled employees.

Benefits to businesses include:

-          Attract new, emerging talent or upskill existing staff

-          Cost-effective recruitment and fully-funded training up to degree level.

-          Attract and keep the best people who understand the needs of the business

-          Improved productivity as apprentices apply their learning in the workplace

-          Workplace tasks and projects carried out by the apprentice count to wards their degree

-          Improved image in the sector

Anyone over the age of 16 who lives in Scotland is eligible, and there are no course fees to pay for apprentices or employers. Participants spend approximately 80 per cent of their time in work and 20 per cent in university and can qualify for entry based on both academic and relevant work experience.  Employers can either hire new recruits or upskill existing staff.

Edinburgh Napier University currently has 408 Graduate Apprentices actively studying across four cohorts in a range of subjects within its School of Computing, Business School and School of Engineering and the Built Environment.  The first cohort, who joined Edinburgh Napier in September 2017, will this year be our first Graduate Apprentices to achieve Honours Degrees.

We’re currently running the following GA programmes:

-          BA (Hons) Business Management

-          BEng (Hons) Civil Engineering

-          BSc (Hons) Construction & the Built Environment

-          BEng (Hons) Engineering: Design and Manufacture

-          BEng (Hons) Cybersecurity

-          BSc (Hons) Data Science

-          BSc (Hons) IT Management for Business

-          BSc (Hons) Software Development

       Sally Smith, Head of Graduate Apprenticeships at Edinburgh Napier, said: “We are delighted to help Business Back Talent through our Graduate Apprenticeship places for 2021. Our previous experience shows how effective they are both for employers with a need for new skills and for individual apprentices.  This year, they will also prove crucial to Scotland’s economic recovery. Our apprenticeships appeal to school and college leavers[ED1]  including Foundation Apprentices, Modern Apprentices and existing employees. With our apprentices putting their skills to use immediately, both they and their employers benefit from day one.”

Apprenticeship Week graphic 2021 

The strong emphasis on work-based learning, especially in latter stages of the degree, enables flexible learning approaches to best meet the needs and challenges of the apprentices. 

Jessica Auld, who is working at Aegon while attending university to study a Graduate Apprenticeship in BEng (Hons) Cyber Security, said: “Studying at university and learning on the job means that I’m constantly learning and developing my skill set and knowledge. It’s exciting to know that at the end of four years I’ll have an honours degree plus four years work experience. For me, the role has opened up so many different opportunities and most importantly; I have met some great people along the way – my team and the other apprentices have been such a great support network.”

The programmes delivered by Edinburgh Napier have already delivered demonstrable success both for the apprentices and their employers.  Some apprentices have even been promoted within 18 months of starting their GA, demonstrating the strong link between academic progression and professional development. 

Jennifer Knights from NHS Education for Scotland, who is currently a workplace mentor for one of the apprentices, said: “I have been very impressed with Edinburgh Napier University and their Graduate Apprenticeship offer. I think it’s fantastic and we need a lot more of it. I think the reputation is growing as other managers see the impact and can recognise that this is making people excited about work.”

Scottish Apprenticeship Week is the time for all those in Scotland benefiting from apprenticeships to join together and share their stories to encourage others to get involved.  Edinburgh Napier will be participating in #ScotAppWeek21 to promote the importance of Graduate Apprenticeships in Scotland’s economic recovery to learners and businesses.

For more information on Graduate Apprenticeship partnership opportunities available at Edinburgh Napier, please visit www.napier.ac.uk/apprenticeships or email ga@napier.ac.uk