Employers to lead in apprenticeships review for Scotland’s Construction sector

Scottish apprenticeships across the Construction sector are to undergo a full review to meet the current needs of employers, employees and industry.

All standards and frameworks across the sector are being reviewed and refreshed through a new employer-led approach to ensure skills and qualifications are fit-for-purpose.

The sector review is part of the wider development programme of Scottish Apprenticeships taking place over the next three to five years.

The development programme changes the existing system of apprenticeship development and delivery, so that employers can take ownership of the design and construction of apprenticeships to ensure they are relevant, adaptable and create the skills they need.

The process seeks to improve the structure of apprenticeships, incorporating a new layered model for apprenticeship standards.

Skills Development Scotland is actively seeking employers of all sizes and representative bodies across Construction to get involved in the design and development work of the sector’s standards and frameworks.

Apprenticeships will be developed to ensure that they include the right skills needed by employers, in real, working-life situations.  These will be flexible and adaptable so that apprentices can build upon skills while the ‘layered model’ allows for generic, specific and local skills to be included. The incorporation of transferable skills termed ‘meta skills’ as a key building block of Scottish Apprenticeships will support apprentices to adapt throughout their working lives.

There are 11 construction related apprenticeship frameworks to review and organisations and businesses can contribute in a number of ways throughout the process, including participation in a Technical Expert Group, employee workshops and wider consultations.

Grahame Barn, Chief Executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) Scotland, said: “We welcome this opportunity for civil engineering contractors to play a hands-on role in shaping apprenticeships and ensuring the future workforce receives appropriate training to meet the needs of employers in our fast-growing industry.

“Civil engineers are responsible for designing, building and upgrading the infrastructure networks which underpin society and, as we get to grips with the climate crisis, the sector will be instrumental in delivering real climate action on the ground to meet Scotland’s net zero targets. Making sure we have an agile apprenticeship system which keeps up to date with the latest green skills and cutting edge technologies has always been a key priority for contractors so the industry-led review is a positive development.”

SDS Skills Planning Manager for Construction, Elaine Ellis said: “The new governance process ensures that frameworks are checked by employers at every stage such as the situation-based assessment, Technical Expert Groups, Apprenticeship Approval Group, while being overseen by the employer-driven Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board’s Standards and Frameworks Group.”

Construction is to be one of the first to undergo a full sectoral review within the development programme.

Elaine Ellis added: “It was important that the first sector-wide review should be Construction because of its size and ongoing recruitment needs. Construction has been identified as a key sector covering critical skills needed by the Scottish economy to grow and flourish, however, feedback suggests Modern Apprenticeships need to be updated to support Construction’s major role in net zero whilst OECD research also suggests a greater demand on technical skills going forward.”

To find out more and register interest to get involved in the development of Scottish Apprenticeships standards and frameworks to support the Construction sector visit the homepage of