Scientific Technologies Foundation Apprenticeship

The Foundation Apprenticeship in Scientific Technologies is an excellent opportunity for S5 students to undertake a substantial period of work experience with locally based international scientific companies. This vocational experience, when combined with class based learning, will lead to a qualification (equivalent to a Higher) that will enable students to:

  • embark on a career in the science based industries.

  • increase their chances of acceptance into a wide range of university science courses.

Foundation Apprenticeships are an excellent addition to your portfolio of qualifications. You can work towards this qualification as you study other National 5 and Higher subjects in S5 and S6. There may also be an opportunity to gain direct entry to the second year of this course in S6.

Our Partners

Scotland’s life science sector offers a wide variety of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers focussing on pharmaceuticals, medical science, biotechnology and environmental areas. Our international reputation, and the sector’s potential for future growth, has led to excellent employment prospects for our young people.

There is a huge variety of exciting opportunities and careers available for young workers with STEM skills and qualifications – there is also a high demand from employers due to skills shortages in these fields. The sector offers great job security and salaries that, on average, are 20% higher than those working in other fields.

What are the benefits of choosing this course?

This course will help you discover what a career in the life science industry would be like, and if it’s right for you, while you’re still at school. It provides the opportunity to work towards a qualification widely recognised throughout the science industry in Scotland allowing you to embark on:

  • a paid modern apprenticeship.
  • an HNC/HND in a science related area.
  • employment in the science sector (lab. assistant or lab. technician).

The qualification is recognised by universities across Scotland for entry into a wide range of their undergraduate science courses. The extensive “real life” laboratory experience gained over the two years will greatly enhance your UCAS application in S6.

What will students experience?

In order to achieve this qualification, you will be expected to study two afternoons a week (Tuesdays & Thursdays) from 1.30pm until 5pm over a two year period.

Classroom experience:

The school-based element of the course is taught at Dunbar Grammar (transport is provided). Units covered in school include:

  • Fundamental chemistry
  • Experimental procedures
  • Lab safety
  • Mathematics for science

A large proportion of year 1 is spent becoming familiar with important experimental techniques in the classroom. The development of these skills is crucial to enable you to become confident working in a research laboratory.  There are four periods of work based learning in year 1 – one of which is during the October holiday.


Work based experience:

The lab placements provided by our partners will give you the opportunity to try out a variety of activities and roles in a modern research lab. You will also have the opportunity to shadow experienced professionals and take part in projects that will develop your practical skills further.

SVQ units covered on placement include:

  • Preparing chemicals
  • Scientific & technical tests
  • Health & safety procedures

Year 2 is almost entirely spent on placement with only the mathematics for science unit being delivered at school.

There is no final exam for this course – it is internally assessed throughout the two-year period.

What are the requirements for this course?

You should have achieved at least a C grade at N5 in maths and one science.

You must have an interest in developing greater awareness of the science industry with a view to pursuing this as a career.

You must be capable of working at SCNF level 6 (Higher) over S5 & S6.

This course follows a two-year programme There is no partial award or credit at the end of year 1. For this reason, you must be committed to completing the course in its entirety.

How do I apply?

In order to apply for this course you must advise your guidance teacher during your course choice interview. They will then provide you with an application form and advise you of the next steps in the process.

If you’re interested in this course, and would like further information before applying formally, please speak to Mr Dickie in the science department.