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UWS students undertaking Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) programmes are already experiencing the benefits of this innovative form of study. 

UWS is working with Skills Development Scotland (SDS) to deliver the programmes which have been developed in response to demand from industry.

The Graduate Apprenticeships offer a chance for apprentices to work with leading employers whilst studying for an Honours Degree at UWS. 

Andrew Begg, 36, who lives in Glasgow, works as a Technical Services Engineer at Newsprinters’ Eurocentral operation in Glasgow. He is currently benefiting from undertaking a Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) in Engineering Design & Manufacture at the University’s Hamilton Campus. 

Andrew, who is in the second year of his GA degree, said: “I have worked as a mechanical engineer in manufacturing for 19 years which included a five year apprenticeship which began in 1998. I am committed to lifelong learning and during that time I gained an HND in mechanical engineering and an HNC in mechatronics ending in 2006. Over the last two years I have gained a CMI Level 5 in management and leadership.

“I was attracted to the GA course at UWS as I felt the content mix of core engineering and engineering management skills were a good progression from my previous experience. Studying at degree level is something I wanted to achieve for a long time but due to work commitments attending a traditional university course was not possible. I currently work a mix of day and night shift so the flexible approach of class time, online study and the work based learning (WBL) made it possible for me to undertake this course. 

“I have been impressed that the GA course also focuses on soft skills, such employability, communication, mindfulness and self-awareness. My previous experience as part of the CMI course taught me the importance of this in order to be successful within business.”
Andrew Begg, UWS GA student

Apprentices are employed throughout the duration of their studies, allowing them to combine academic learning at one of Scotland’s largest modern universities with practical learning in the workplace. By investing in their workforce through GAs, employers are able to support new and existing staff to develop their skills to industry and professional standards.

For employees, GAs provide an opportunity to access the same learning opportunities as those who follow the traditional route of direct entry into University, whilst gaining practical work experience. Advanced entry to the GA programmes is also possible for employees who can evidence previous industry relevant skills and qualifications.

Nicole Strain, 22 from Bishopton, is currently in 3rd year of her Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) in IT Software Development at the University’s Hamilton Campus. 

Nicole, who works as a Data Analyst for Glasgow-based, Mail Marketing Scotland Ltd, said: “I had heard some great things from friends about UWS and its IT provision, so was very keen to undertake the GA at the University’s Hamilton Campus when the opportunity arose.

“I hope that the GA will enable me to take on more challenging projects in work without requiring as much support from my mentor as well as being able to bring new approaches to challenges that occur in work. 

“I would highly recommend anyone who has the opportunity to undertake a GA at UWS to grab it with both hands!”


“The GA is great - being able to work full-time gaining work experience while getting a graduate level education is the best of both worlds. The academics at UWS are so helpful and the GA has been a fantastic experience. "
Nicole Strain, UWS GA student

With three out of four employers in Scotland reporting critical skill shortages that are affecting their productivity and growth, added to the fact that more than 70% of Scottish employers think that job applicants lack technical, practical or job specific skills, GAs have never been more important. 

By combining academic learning with real-time practical experience in the workplace, the GA programmes will deliver industry-relevant skills and qualifications. GAs are developed in partnership with employers to ensure that the learning is relevant to industry and that apprentices can apply their learning in the workplace immediately.

Chris Kinnaird, Managing Director of Glasgow-based Mail Marketing Business Solutions, is currently benefiting from having Nicole Strain, undertaking at GA at UWS.

Chris Kinnaird said: “I have been really impressed by the University’s committed to the scheme and how supportive they have been when we have engaged with them. There are a number of benefits we are already seeing as a result of Nicole undertaking this GA at UWS. She is bringing new skills to bear in her day-to-day routine on an increasingly frequent basis, but for me perhaps the most interesting benefit has been that her involvement in the GA programme has resulted in us all questioning and re-evaluating our current working practices and methodologies. I would highly recommend and encourage other businesses to participate in GAs.”

This September the University is offering GA programmes in IT Software Development, Engineering Design & Manufacture, Civil Engineering and Business Management. This is the second consecutive year that UWS has received approval from SDS for the delivery of GAs.

Businesses interested in finding out more about the Graduate Apprenticeships at UWS should visit

Scottish Apprenticeship Week, which celebrates the benefits apprenticeships bring to businesses, individuals and the economy, is running this week until Friday 9th March. For more information visit