Scottish schools demonstrate how skills give pupils the edge


Blairgowrie High School pupils Jodie Morrison, Matthew Erskine, Megan McRitchie and Holly Nicolson are commended on their culinary skills by the visting delegation including Vipin Sahni, Chief Executive of NABET, Margaret Curran and David Baldie from SQA, local restaurateur Willie Little and Lynn Smith, Principal Teacher of Home Economics


School and colleges across the country are providing the inspiration for a group of Indian education specialists hoping to mirror Scotland’s success in preparing young people for the world of work.

The delegates are on a fact-finding mission to witness first-hand how the practical and vocational skills pupils develop in the classroom can be put to use in the workplace.

The visit, organised by SQA and the National Accreditation Board for Education and Training in India (NABET), took in demonstrations at Govan High School in Glasgow, Dumbarton Academy and Blairgowrie High School along with visits to the construction site of the new South Glasgow Hospital, Clydebank College and Perth College UHI.

The week-long tour of Scotland took in examples of how young people’s skills and talents are identified and enhanced before five of the delegation head to Quest Scotland in Dundee to complete a course on becoming master-trainers, enabling them to pass on coaching and development skills to other teachers once they return to their schools in India.

Speaking about the visit, Alistair Shaw, Head of International Awarding at SQA, said: “We have been working in partnership with NABET since 2010, sharing best practice and developing links between Scotland and India.  The Skills for Work qualifications we have successfully developed equip young people with the skills they need to succeed at work.

“This is an attribute which is universally attractive to education and training specialists, not just in Scotland, but around the world. This visit will give our Indian colleagues the opportunity to see some of the great examples of skills for work in action, how they benefit young people and the variety of ways in which schools, colleges and employers can work together to develop and nurture skills in young people.”

Vipin Sahni, Chief Executive of NABET, said: “Our agreement with SQA gives us the opportunity to see for ourselves how young people can succeed when given the right stimulation and support. This visit provides a unique opportunity to see how vocational skills are being developed in Scottish schools in a range of exciting and innovative ways. We hope to be able to echo the success seen in Scotland, identify elements of the programme that could be adapted to fit the Indian education system and ultimately benefit our young people and our economy.”

Lynn Smith, Principal Teacher of Home Economics, who gave the delegation a display of the hospitality and catering skills pupils from Blairgowrie High School have developed in the their  teaching kitchen and restaurant said: “Skills for work courses focus on developing generic employability skills that young people need to succeed in the work place. They are flexible enough to allow us to tailor what we offer to our pupils, allowing us to develop good relationships with local employers and they have definitely contributed to our success in ensuring our pupils end up in positive destinations – either going on to further or higher education, training or employment.”