SQA showcases Wider Achievement Awards

SQA has produced a series of short films that showcase the value and flexibility of its Wider Achievement Awards.

Wider Achievement Awards – which are available in a number subjects such as employability, volunteering skills, and even Scottish Studies – complement SQA’s National Qualifications; giving young people an additional study option while at school or a qualification that can be delivered by an employer or a training provider.

The films, which are available on the SQA YouTube channel, demonstrate a variety of ways the awards are being delivered and the role they play in developing and enhancing learners’ skills.


Morrison Construction and Newbattle High School

SQA has worked with Morrison Construction, Aberdeen City Council and Dumfries and Galloway Council to capture how its wider achievement awards have benefitted a variety of learners.

Morrison Construction adopted SQA’s employability awards as part of their corporate social responsibility strategy, giving young people at school a meaningful insight into the construction sector.

Alice Harley, Project Skills Coordinator at Morrison Construction, said: “We work with pupils at local schools and our Employability and Construction programme is mapped to SQA’s Employability Award at SCQF level 4. This means the young people we work with get a real sense of what it’s like to work in the construction industry. The award recognises their real achievements, builds their confidence and gives them hands-on experience of the variety of jobs that are available within the sector.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council introduced the employability award into its training programme to support young people with additional support needs who are looking to enter the work place.

Lynne Burgess, Employability and Skills Manager at Dumfries and Galloway Council, said: ““Employability skills are more important than ever before and so the SQA employability award allows us to tailor a programme for the individual, identifying and focusing attention on what they can do, rather than what they cannot.  We work with local employers to determine their needs and match them to appropriate candidates for work experience placements. We also prepare young people for what they can expect to find in the work place, and give them the confidence to face challenges they may not have encountered before.”

Aberdeen City Council include SQA’s volunteering skills award as part of their Cultivate programme, which helps adult learners develop employability skills within the arts and creative industries.

Mandy Clarke, Creative Project Coordinator at Aberdeen City Council, said: “The success of the programme is down to the positive experiences our learners are having.  We have arts graduates, adult learners and school leavers all working together, developing their skills and seeing the benefits for themselves and the wider community.”

Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive, said: “SQA’s wider achievement awards help candidates to identify, develop and enhance skills that can help them move on to the next phase of their learning.  The awards help learners develop the attributes required to succeed in the workplace.  They are also flexible enough for the organisations delivering the awards to tailor and shape the courses to their requirements. 

“This is of particular benefit when considering the recent recommendations of the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, which wants to make stronger connections between the skills and knowledge young people have and the competencies employer require, give young people practical experience of the workplace and build lasting relationships between schools and employers.”

Scottish Studies

SQA has also produced a series of three film clips highlighting the versatility of its Scottish Studies awards.  The qualification, which gives learners the opportunity for independent study during the Scotland in Focus unit, can be used at various stages across the senior phase.  

In the films, staff from Crieff High School, Craigie High School in Dundee and Forfar Academy talk about the advantages pupils get from working towards the qualification.

Andrew Brown, principal teacher of history at Craigie High School, said: “The Scottish Studies award is available to our S3 pupils and gives them a chance to manage their own study based on a topic of their own choosing.  This is an invaluable experience, developing skills that will benefit them throughout the rest of their time at school and in later life.”



Scottish Studies - Craigie High School, Dundee

More information on all of SQA’s awards, visit www.sqa.org.uk/awards