Engineering careers with SQA National Certificate

NC Electrical Engineering Scholarship - students of 2013-14

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has produced a short film in collaboration with Glasgow School College Business Partnership that demonstrates the benefits of partnership working to deliver an innovative scholarship programme in electrical engineering.

The partnership – which includes Glasgow City Council Education Services, Glasgow Kelvin College and a number of Glasgow secondary schools and business partners - works in collaboration to offer the SQA’s National Certificate in Electrical Engineering through its 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 current 2014/15 scholarship cohort of 16 young people are drawn from secondary schools in north east 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.

Jean Miller, Headteacher at Smithycroft Secondary School, said: “Throughout a typical week the scholarship involves students spending two days at school where they study Higher courses or personal development courses like SQA’s Leadership Award. They then spend two days in college pursuing qualifications in maths, communications and electrical engineering. They also, fundamentally, spend one full day on work placement, which involves a range of employers.”

Business partners including Network Rail, Amey, Scottish Power, SSE and Scottish Water have contributed to the scholarship, offering site visits and workplace sessions.

Tom Phillips, Graduate Civil Engineer at Network Rail, said: “Programmes like the NC in Electrical Engineering Scholarship are invaluable to both our business and our sector- they provide future workers who are capable, knowledgeable and - importantly - interested in the opportunities we have to offer.”

Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive, said: “SQA’s National Certificates help candidates who are in full-time education to prepare for employment, career development or progression to more advanced study.

“This is of particular benefit when considering the 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 employers require, giving young people practical experience of the workplace and building lasting relationships between schools and employers.”

Jennifer McLean, Development Officer at Glasgow City Council, said: “The SQA National Certificate is a very good fit with the scholarship programme as it gives the young people a platform to progress into a range of vocational pathways. They could go on to do a Modern Apprenticeship or they could progress onto college.”

Of the young people who were in the programme in 2013/14, ninety percent successfully achieved the full National Certificate Award. Gerry McCarron, Account Manager at Amey, said: “The NC Electrical Engineering Scholarship is a fully rounded vocational programme. The collaboration between the council, schools, college and employers gives the pupils all the tools required to enter the workplace or go on to higher education in their chosen career. That’s been demonstrated by ninety percent of last year’s intake going on to further education or finding positions as Modern Apprentices.”

Christopher Andrews took part in the scholarship programme for 2013/14 and is now studying a HND in Electrical Engineering at Glasgow Kelvin College, he said: “I got involved in the electrical engineering scholarship through a teacher at school who told me there were places available - because I had an interest in physics, maths and anything to do with science. I had always wanted to be in electrical engineering.”

Carlyn McNab, Head of Faculty in Science and Engineering at Glasgow Kelvin College said: “I am very pleased with the tremendous success of the scholarship programme. We are seeing all the students progressing to positive destinations including Modern Apprenticeships and places on HND courses.”

Watch the video below: