5 Sep 2018 L-R: Jonathan Clark, Director of Service Design & Innovation at SDS, Damien Yeates, Chief Executive at SDS, Dr Gill Murray and Professor Richard A. Williams. Heriot-Watt’s reputation as a pioneer in professional education continues to go from strength-to-strength through its Graduate Apprenticeship (GA) programme. A total of 70 employers from across the country have now signed-up to the exciting new education initiative, which allows individuals to study for degree qualifications whilst in paid employment. I am delighted that Heriot-Watt is working closely with employers and industry to expand the reach of Graduate Apprenticeships. Professor Richard A. Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, said: “Graduate Apprentices are directly aligned with both Heriot-Watt University’s heritage and future strategy, providing skilled graduates and opportunities for employers to help shape the skills of their employees and to address skills shortages affecting their industry and the local economy. “We are very proud of the impressive community of employers that we have developed around our Graduate Apprentice programme. We look forward to working in partnership with these employers to ensure they remain globally competitive and productive in a rapidly changing world of work. ” Since its introduction last year, the number of GA student places at Heriot-Watt has grown to 175 – the largest intake anywhere in Scotland – while the number of degree programmes has also increased to seven covering a range of subjects including Business Management as well as Construction and Civil Engineering. Graduate Apprenticeships provide employers with the opportunity to identify talent early while offering existing staff the chance to up-skill. The degree programmes have been developed in partnership with Skills Development Scotland with support from the European Social Fund. SDS Chief Executive Damien Yeates, said: "The rapid advancement of technology and demographic shifts have the potential to reshape every aspect of society – particularly the economy, work and skills. “Graduate Apprenticeships show that Scotland is at the vanguard of creating and delivering the educational experiences to seize the opportunities created by these changes. “I am delighted that Heriot-Watt is working closely with employers and industry to expand the reach of Graduate Apprenticeships.” Heriot-Watt University is uniquely-placed to help meet the urgent need for a highly skilled workforce and is committed to delivering qualified graduates for its community of employers. Many of the Graduate Apprenticeships will be based at Heriot-Watt’s new £19 million Discovery and Innovation Centre. The state-of-art facility opens early next year with new learning and enterprise spaces for staff, students, partners and the wider community – the development is set to inspire the next generation of digital innovators.