Successful Partnerships

West Lothian - Partnerships in Food and Drink Education

To mark the Year of Food and Drink Scotland in 2015 SQA produced a set of short films highlighting the benefits of partnership working: developing the qualifications, skills and training needed to support Scotland’s food and drink industry.

We visited West Lothian — an enterprise area for food and drink manufacturing — to highlight the partnership projects between Bathgate Academy, West Lothian College and local manufacturers Macrae Edinburgh, AK Stoddart and Glen Turner Distillery.

Graeme Findlay, Qualifications Manager at SQA: “Scotland has a global reputation for quality and craftsmanship in food and drink production. It is the most dynamic and successful sector of the Scottish economy, creating over 100,000 jobs directly and indirectly.

“Successful partnerships between schools, colleges and employers like those in West Lothian, are helping to inspire, train and qualify the industries future workforce and are a great example of how SQA’s food and drink qualifications, from nationals to SVQs, are helping to support routes into the Scottish food and drink industry.”

Read more and watch the video case studies: Food and Drink - Partnerships

Clyde College and Scottish Power

The Construction and Engineering department of Glasgow Clyde College (Cardonald Campus) has been working in partnership with Scottish Power since 2011 to offer pre-entry level apprenticeship training to hard-to-reach young people.

A new programme, Power Skills, was created in line with the Scottish Government‘s strategy to reduce future unemployment among 16-19 year olds by providing access to SQA qualifications and Modern Apprenticeship opportunities. Power Skills is now an established programme within the College curriculum portfolio. To date it has engaged 22 young adults who, in the past, had been distrusting of education and felt the education system had failed them. All of the students have now participated in training and have had career possibilities opened up to them that they believed had passed them by.

Several students also gained part-time employment while on the programme.


Partnership between Glasgow City Council Education Services, Glasgow Kelvin College, Smithycroft Secondary School, Network Rail and Amey

Glasgow City Council Education Services, Glasgow Kelvin College and a number of Glasgow secondary schools and business partners work in collaboration to offer the SQA’s National Certificate in Electrical Engineering through a one year scholarship programme — NC Electrical Engineering Scholarship — providing a unique pathway into a range of engineering occupations for S5 and S6 pupils in Glasgow.

The scholarship programme combines both school and college-based study, with pupils working towards an SQA National Certificate in Electrical Engineering as well as undertaking work experience placements. Read more and watch the video case study: NC Electrical Engineering Scholarship

Ayrshire College and Ryanair – Prestwick Aircraft Maintenance, East Ayrshire

Ayrshire College’s Engineering department has strong partnerships with well-known Ayrshire employers and many previous students have progressed on to employment, self-employment and also apprenticeships in local and national companies.

Engineering is a growing sector in the UK, and renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly, providing many career opportunities. Ayrshire College engineering department courses include electrical, mechanical, manufacturing, fabrication and welding and wind turbine technology. The college is now developing composite awareness, manufacture inspection and repair techniques into the aeronautical and wind turbine courses.

Ayrshire College has been nationally approved as Scotland’s first training provider to deliver composites training, enhancing the college’s position as a leading provider of educationand training in aeronautical engineering.

A partnership with Ryanair has led to 10 students getting jobs with the company, reinforcing the college’s aim to offer training that is relevant, valued by employers and leads to employment.

Castlebay Community School / Hebridean Living (Croitear Òg) / Historic Scotland

Castlebay has formed partnerships with 21 local employers who provide work placement training. One of these initiatives is Hebridean Living, which incorporates Croitear Òg, a new project that encourages learning through involvement with indigenous industries – fishing and crofting.

This partnership improves learners’ experience in education and training, plus they get to: build lobster creels and a boat, make crowdie and black pudding, do an island clean-up, and improve their independent living skills.

This partnership has produced more effective results, with pupils selling produce at the Barra and Vatersay Local Produce Show and in the local shop Bùth Bharraigh. The school also invites business and community partners to school productions and events. Another result is a twinning link with Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline to exchange visits to look at different types of agriculture. These local partnerships mean the school is an important part of the community.

Morrison Construction

Morrison Construction adopted SQA’s Employability Award as part of their corporate social responsibility strategy, giving young people at Newbattle High School a meaningful insight into the construction sector.

In 2013 Morrison Construction were awarded a contract to build the new site for Newbattle High School. Since then, the firm have worked in partnership with Midlothian Council to offer pupils at Newbattle the opportunity to complete a dedicated Employability and Construction programme, incorporating SQA’s Employability Award at SCQF level 4.

Watch the video case study: Morrison Construction

Dumfries and Galloway Council

Dumfries and Galloway Council introduced SQA’s Employability Award into its Supported Employment Service programme to support young people with additional support needs who are looking to enter the work place.

The service works with local employers to determine their needs and match them to appropriate candidates for work experience placements. This programme prepares young people for what they can expect to find in the work place, and gives them the confidence to face challenges they may not have encountered before. Participants gain formal accreditation through SQA’s Employability Award at SCQF level 4.

Watch the video case study: Dumfries and Galloway Council

Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen City Council includes SQA’s Volunteering Skills Award as part of its Cultivate programme, which helps adult learners develop employability skills within the arts and creative industries.

The aim of Cultivate is to build a structured approach to working with volunteers. The programme brings together a diverse group of people from the Aberdeen area, of different ages and from all walks of life, those with no previous volunteering experience and those who have volunteered before.

Throughout the duration of the programme, participants are able to develop a raft of sought-after skills that augment employability, including; teamwork, leadership, interpersonal skills, presentation skills, creativity, self-awareness, communication, research and analytical skills. Cultivate participants gain formal accreditation through SQA’s Volunteering Skills Award at SCQF level 4.

Watch the video case study: Aberdeen City Council

SVQ for Unpaid Carers Project, Moray

A partnership between Moray Council SVQ Centre and Quarriers Carer Support Service is providing support to unpaid carers, helping them to achieve an SVQ level 2.

The demands and pressures of supporting family members can inhibit unpaid carers giving the necessary time and energy to undertake conventional educational routes. Assessing SVQ level 2 for unpaid carers requires an innovative approach that cultivates a sense of belief, value and accomplishment.

Quarriers’ expertise and knowledge supporting unpaid carers and the council SVQ Centre’s extensive track record in SVQs provides a comprehensively nurturing environment where unpaid carers can experience a secure learning environment empowering individuals to succeed.

This personal approach can give unpaid carers the confidence to embark on something perceived as daunting. Candidates are also offered mentoring by previous candidates and support from Quarriers to overcome doubt and maintain momentum throughout the experience.

East Lothian Hospitality and Tourism Academy

A highly successful skills development initiative for pupils aged 16-18, led by Edinburgh College, Queen Margaret University (QMU) and East Lothian Council, is aiming to raise standards across Scotland‘s hospitality and tourism industries.

The Academy helps to smooth the transition between school, college, university and work. The full programme is two years, but after successfully completing year one, students can choose to move from school to college or into industry. Following successful completion of the full two-year programme, S6 pupils can gain direct entry to a specified university course at QMU, choose to study at Edinburgh College or progress to work opportunities within the industry.

In its first year, the initiative has seen thirty students successfully completing HNC modules as well as employability modules. Of these, eighteen are going on to study the HNC, four are continuing to Edinburgh College to study SVQ2 in Professional Cookery and eight are moving into employment.

Glasgow Kelvin (formally John Wheatley) College and Glasgow City Council

A partnership between the College and Glasgow City Council’s Enhanced Vocational Inclusion Programme (EVIP) has taken a holistic approach to the development and delivery of SQA qualifications for some of Glasgow’s most vulnerable and hard-to-reach young people.

The EVIP Transitions groups now follow a completely different timetable from all other EVIP groups across the city. Learners attend various formal and informal classes with a ‘joined-up’ approach utilising the different skills available from College tutors, youth workers and EVIP staff, and experience a unique partnership approach to learning and teaching.

By working in partnership, utilising the specific skills and knowledge of individuals in a team approach, this programme has been very successful. It relies on the commitment of all partners to ‘go the extra mile’ to develop and deliver an innovative and flexible programme for an extremely challenging cohort.