Talking about tomorrow


Vocational Training

Learning by doing

Many people find the best way to learn is by doing.

Opportunities vary depending on where you live but Skills Development Scotland, the national agency funded by the Scottish Government, manages several national training programmes that improve job skills while providing work experience and in many cases formal qualifications. Some offer paid work, or allow people to study for a qualification at the same time. All of them offer opportunities that can be tailored to the particular needs of disabled young adults.

Activity Agreements

These are provided by local councils.

An adviser works with a young person to create a personalised programme of activities and training to reduce barriers to progression. The adviser supports them until a positive destination – i.e. a place in learning, training or employment – is reached.

It’s free and participants may be eligible for Education Maintenance Allowance or another training allowance.

Visit the Skills Development Scotland website to speak to an adviser, find your nearest office, or email through the website.

Fair Start Scotland

This is an employment service for Scotland, supporting unemployed disabled people aged 16 and over who need help to enter or remain in the labour market. It replaces the UK Government’s Work Programme.

An adviser creates a personalised plan to support participants into work, with pre-work support for 12–18 months and up to 12 months of additional support once someone is in work. It costs nothing to take part and does not affect benefit entitlements.

More information can be found on the Scottish Government and Employability in Scotland websites.

Modern and Foundation Apprenticeships

An apprenticeship lets you work and study at the same time. The Scottish Government has introduced two kinds of new apprenticeships aimed at getting young people into work.

Foundation Apprenticeships

These are unpaid and open to pupils from S4–S6 or studying Highers in college. They allow young people to combine workplace or college training alongside their other subjects. Foundation Apprentices can start a career while still at school, or progress to a Modern Apprenticeship more quickly. The qualification is recognised by many Scottish universities and colleges, so they may also move into further education if they wish.

Foundation Apprenticeships usually last for 2 years.

Visit the Skills Development Scotland website to speak to an adviser, find your nearest office, or email through the website.

Foundation Apprentices may qualify for Education Maintenance Allowance.

Modern Apprenticeships

These let someone work in a paid job while receiving workplace training to gain new skills and recognised qualifications. They allow those aged 16–24 (or 16–29 if disabled) to train for jobs in a wide variety of sectors, including management roles, without having to study full time. Modern Apprentices develop expertise through on-the-job assessment and gain vital workplace skills such as teamwork and problem solving.

Training fees for Modern Apprenticeships are paid by the employer and Skills Development Scotland. Apprentices are paid at the national minimum apprentice wage or above by the employer and enjoy the same protections and conditions as any other employee.

In most cases a Modern Apprenticeship takes between 2 and 4 years to complete.

For more information speak to a careers adviser or guidance teacher, contact Skills Development Scotland on 0800 917 8000 or visit the Apprenticeships.Scot website.

No One Left Behind

No One Left Behind is a programme of support delivered by each local authority (council) area in Scotland. Support is provided to anyone who requires help to prepare for work, training, education and/or volunteering, regardless of their age or background. There may be a programme of support specifically aimed at disabled people.

You will receive support from an Employability Key Worker, and work on an individual plan to help you reach your goals. The agreement could include activities designed to prepare you for progression, such as taster sessions at college, time with training providers, mentoring, peer mentoring opportunities and group projects.

Visit No One Left Behind and get contact details for your local authority.

Lead Scotland currently provides support on behalf of Aberdeenshire Council to young disabled people aged 16-24 to get into learning, volunteering or training on their pathway to employment. Read about the Aberdeenshire employability projects for young people on the Lead Scotland website.

Young Persons Guarantee

The aim of the Young Person’s Guarantee is that within 2 years, every person aged between 16 and 24, based on their own personal circumstances and ambition, will have the chance to study, take up an apprenticeship, job or work experience, or take part in formal volunteering.

Search for opportunities on the Young Person’s Guarantee website and find out more about support to access opportunities in your local area.   

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