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Prepare for change with work-based learning

With the way we work undergoing enormous changes - from rapid technological progress to an older, more diverse workforce - the skills your team will need for future success are going to be very different. Together with the Centre for Work-Based Learning, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has been conducting research into the skills that will be most useful in the workplace of the future – and how work-based learning can help your staff develop them.

Key skills areas for the future

Skills 4.0, a paper recently published by Skills Development Scotland and the Centre for Work-based Learning, makes some important predictions about the skills that will become most valuable in the future. With many technical tasks being carried out by machines, employers are likely to become more reliant on soft skill, or meta-skills, which fall within three main categories:

  • Self-management: focussing; integrity; adapting; initiative
  • Social intelligence: communicating; feeling; collaborating; leading
  • Innovation: curiosity; creativity; sense making; critical thinking

Learn more about Skills 4.0 here, or download the full report here.

Learning on the job

These key skills for the future are not always easily taught and tested in schools, colleges and universities. Instead, work-based learning (learning on the job) will be key.

One practical, cost-effective method of work-based learning is apprenticeships. These are great for employers for several reasons:

  • The Scottish Government helps with the cost of training
  • While training, your apprentice is are also working for you, so time is used efficiently
  • Apprenticeships are a flexible, targeted way to build the specific skills needed to cope with change

Apprenticeships: equip your workforce for change

Three models of apprenticeship are available in Scotland, each offering a different way of bringing essential future skills to your workforce. Industry specialists and education providers have worked with SDS to develop apprenticeships that bring the most skills value to both employers and apprentices.

  • Foundation Apprenticeships let people start their work-based learning while still at school or college - so you can tap into the skills pipeline early.
  • Modern Apprenticeships let you shape your own workforce with the skills needed for your business.
  • Graduate Level Apprenticeships combine academic learning up to Masters learning with practical skill-building.

Take on an apprentice

If you'd like to learn more, visit - and find your new apprentice.