How SQA develops young people

Corporate Parent

In March 2015, SQA pledged its support for the Who Cares? Scotland ‘Listen-Act-Unite’ campaign. From 1 April 2015, SQA joins many other public bodies in Scotland and becomes a National Corporate Parent under the Children and Young Person (Scotland) Act 2014, giving it a number of responsibilities to young people who experience the care system.

The ‘Listen-Act-Unite’ campaign brings together young people, members of the public, decision makers, power holders and communities, to establish how we listen to care experienced young people; how we act on what we hear and how we unite to create better lives for them. The campaign aims to dispel the myths about children in care and give them the same opportunities as other young people.

SQA Chief Executive, Dr Janet Brown, said: “SQA is delighted to be a National Corporate Parent and is committed to making things better by listening to young people in and from care. We have met with some young people to learn about their lives and ambitions and as an organisation we feel strongly that we can make a real difference”. Read more

Investors in Young People

Investors in Young People (IIYP) have awarded SQA with the Good Practice Award, which seeks to reward and recognise employers who demonstrate excellence in recruiting, retaining and training young people.

IIYP was borne from a recommendation from the Commission for Developing the Young Workforce. It called for the creation of an ‘Invest in Youth Accolade’ to help employers in their recruitment, retention and development of young people.

The Investors in Young People framework has been designed to support organisations who wish to recruit, retain and develop young people, while also offering recognition to those who are already illustrating excellent work. Non-prescriptive, the IIYP framework is outcome focused, offering organisations support and recommendations where they are required. The framework has been broken down into three basic elements of attracting and recruiting young people, developing young people and retaining young people.

Modern Apprenticeship programme

Pathway is a unique apprenticeship scheme for young people offered by SQA. Modern Apprenticeships offer anyone aged over 16 paid employment combined with the opportunity to train for jobs across a wide range of sectors. They are an exciting way of gaining skills and qualifications that will help start a career without having to study full-time.

Since 2012, SQA’s Pathway Apprenticeship scheme has offered young people across our local communities and a unique opportunity to work towards a Modern Apprenticeship in our offices at Optima and Glasgow and Lowden in Dalkeith.

Pathway apprentices are provided with a tailored training plan and a dedicated SQA Mentor to support personal development and career progression throughout their two year apprenticeship. Working from Optima or Lowden, apprentices receive on-the-job training and have the opportunity to work towards a HNC in Administration and Information Technology and complete an SVQ level 3 in Business and Administration by attending college. Find out more

Work Experience at SQA

SQA recognises and values the benefits of good work experience placements, both to employers and pupils. SQA offers work experience for S4 learners at SQA’s Optima office in Glasgow and at SQA Lowden office, near Edinburgh. By understanding and meeting the needs of young people in the community, this brings benefits to the young person who gains insight into working life, and also benefits SQA through understanding the needs of young people. For more information on work experience, please e-mail

Corporate Social Responsibility

As a leader in Corporate Social Responsibility SQA is dedicated to supporting the youth of today and works closely with several organisations and bodies to support those youngsters who may have been disadvantaged socially and educationally when growing up. As well as being a Corporate Parent and working with initiatives such as Investors in Young People, Work Experience and Modern Apprenticeships — SQA also has a strong emphasis and focus on mentoring and learning. Working with schools and colleges, agencies such as Career Ready, Scottish Business in the Community, Project Scotland, Volunteer Scotland, Inspiring 500 and charitable bodies such as the Cyrenians, the Bethany Christian Trust and Volunteer Midlothian, SQA staff share their life and work experiences and skills with young people who need that extra bit of help and support.