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Connecting With SQA - SQA's Monthly E-zine.

Friday 22 February
Issue 24


Director of Market and Business Development

PHOTO: John McDonald, Director of Market and Business Development
We are delighted to announce the appointment today of John McDonald as our new Director of Market and Business Development.

The Market and Business Development area will begin to set out how we can deliver more effectively to you, our customers and stakeholders, using a co-ordinated market-led approach. We are determined to play a full and committed part in ensuring that the Scottish people and economy benefit from a qualifications and skills system that is all embracing in delivering and meeting Scotland’s existing and emerging needs and helping people to realise their potential. This will assist with the government's aim to develop a smarter Scotland, that can compete in the global economy.

Update on the review of Higher English

We reported in November that together with our stakeholders in the teaching profession, the Headteachers’ Association of Scotland (HAS), the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS) and the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), we have been monitoring Higher English to understand how it is performing.

Curriculum for Excellence have recently published the draft Outcomes and Experiences for English and Literacy for 3 – 15, and they invite you to provide feedback. These outcomes will inform any future review of the content of Higher English to ensure that there is good progression and fit between these two elements.

We will shortly be undertaking a piece of work on the nature of the required content of the subject and we expect completion of this work by spring 2008 with the aim of being able to run some events based on the results of this work at the start of the next academic year.  This work and follow up events will help shape the extent of any possible change needed, ensuring that any new qualification will support the future requirements of Scotland.

We will keep you updated.

Financial Skills in the Curriculum

The Scottish Government has recently introduced an initiative to teach Scottish school children skills in money management. The purpose of the initiative is to prevent future money problems such as debt and bankruptcy. Teachers will focus on how to prepare children to become confident consumers.

As SQA Business Manager, Robert Quinn, explained, we are developing personal finance ‘outcomes’ across a range of subjects.  For example, a foundation certificate in financial capability is being piloted next week and will go national next year.

Find out more.

New Scottish Paralegal Qualifications Launched

PHOTO: Janet Brown at launch of paralegal qualifications

Together with the Scottish Paralegal Association (SPA), we recently launched a series of new qualifications for paralegals.

The 10,000 people working in paralegal roles within Scotland’s legal system will now have the opportunity to work towards one of a number of awards such as a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or a Higher National Diploma (HND). There will also be smaller, specialised Professional Development Awards (PDAs) which will provide a comprehensive suite of qualifications for paralegals working in a variety of different specialisms.  The qualifications will enable current paralegals to bolster their employment prospects and offer a way in for those wishing to enter the sector.

In the future, paralegals will be able to register with the Law Society of Scotland, giving them a new professional status. Awards like the new SQA/SPA qualifications will play a key role in the registration process.

At the launch, SQA Chief Executive Dr Janet  Brown said,

'We all know that qualifications are important to Scotland’s economy, but they are also important for individuals too as they develop their career pathways.  That’s why I’m delighted that through this joint agreement we will be able to offer thousands of people working as paralegals this opportunity to prove their professionalism while having the reassurance that they will gain qualifications that are robust and nationally-recognised.'

Find out more.

Qualifications that Open the Gateway to Work

The development of SQA's portfolio of National Qualifications Group Awards (NQGA) was celebrated at a recent conference hosted by SQA with input from the Sector Skills PHOTO: NQGA conferenceDevelopment Agency (SSDA) and the Scottish Further Education Unit (SFEU).

NQGAs are designed to provide a gateway into the world of work. They are available across a wide range of subjects, from computing and engineering to hairdressing and hospitality.

The conference focused on the themes of skilling, upskilling and reskilling and how NQGAs can support the Government’s Skills for Scotland – A Lifelong Skills Strategy.  Partnership working among colleges, schools, employers and training providers to deliver these qualifications was also highlighted.

Depute Director of Qualifications, Dr Gill Stewart said:

‘We are determined to play a full and committed part in ensuring  that the Scottish people and economy benefit from a qualifications and skills system that is all embracing in delivering and meeting Scotland’s existing and emerging needs and helping people realise their potential.’

Find our more.

New Practice Learning Qualifications Launched

Adam Ingram MSP with representatives from SQA and SSSC
Last week, SQA in partnership with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) launched new qualifications for people working in social services and related professions.

The qualifications are part of a major new framework of standards called Practice Learning Qualifications (Social Services) (PLQSS) developed by the SSSC and SQA for people working in social services and related professions who are supporting a wide range of learning for practice in the workplace.

The qualifications are designed to be accessible, flexible and more suited to delivering the practice learning needed for the honours degree in social work introduced in 2004. The qualifications will support and encourage a wide range of people working in the social care sector.

Minister for Children and Early Years, Adam Ingram MSP, commented:
'The success of any workforce is driven by its skills base and that’s particularly important when it comes to those supporting our most vulnerable people.  These new qualifications are a major step forward for Scotland’s social services sector, providing a framework to improve support for degree students through to the wider workforce.'

Find out more about these new qualifications.

Website Improvements

SQA's new and improved homepage

Following on from last year’s website redesign and your resulting feedback, we are working on a number of new developments to help further enhance our website service. These include:

We are planning to have these improvements in place by the end of March 2008. We will keep you updated with progress on these initiatives. If you have any queries or feedback on the changes, please contact the Webteam.

Inaugural National Economic Forum

Our Chief Executive Dr Janet Brown recently attended the inaugural meeting of the National Economic Forum at the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.

The Forum brought together senior figures in business, trade unions, government, the public sector and the voluntary sector.  Delegates debated the economic challenges and priorities facing Scotland. Specific topics under discussion included the Government's Economic Strategy and ways in which to achieve higher sustainable economic growth in Scotland.

The Forum was addressed by the First Minister with his message that: ‘Scotland can once again be one of the wealthiest countries in the world.’

For more information.

Consultation on HN Modernisation Project Exit Strategy

Scotland's Colleges and other interested parties are invited to take part in the consultation on the HN Modernisation Project exit strategy.  This consultation is being carried out by Walter Patterson Consultancy on behalf of the HN Key Partners' Group.

The HN Modernisation Project is an ambitious five year project to modernise HNC/Ds, including their component Units.  The project has been delivered through a strong partnership between SQA, Scotland’s Colleges and other related organsiations. The project is now in its final year and is on target to complete in December 2008.  The HN Key Partners’ Group (HNKPG) has drawn up a proposal for an exit strategy and wishes to consult with you.

Take part in the consultation.

Young Scots Urged to Enter Worldskills UK Competition

The best of the UK’s young skills talent is being called on to enter the 2008 WorldSkills UK competitions and we need your help. Do you know someone who is over 18 and excels in a vocational skill? This is their chance to gain recognition and represent their country on the world stage. Entrants can be in employment, training or education and participation is free. LOGO: Worldskills UK

The 70 WorldSkills UK competitions are designed by leading industry experts and will be held across the UK, judging a range of skills in the following sectors:

Winners from each competition have the chance of being selected to represent the UK at forthcoming international events – EuroSkills 2008, taking place this September in The Netherlands, and the 2009 WorldSkills Competition being held in Calgary, Canada.

In order to increase participation from young Scots, there will be a two week radio and media campaign which started last week. Thirty second slots will be heard on Radio Borders, Clyde 1, Forth One, Moray Firth Radio, Northsound One, Tay-FM, Kingdom FM and XFM Scotland. In addition there will be targeted promotion on Microsoft Instant Messenger.  
The deadline for applications to the WorldSkills UK competitions is Thursday, 28 February. For entry details call the competition hotline on 0800 612 0742 or visit the website.  If you know someone who excels in their skill, please pass this on.

SVQs in Management and Team Leading

We are holding the next networking event for the SVQs in Management and Team Leading, aimed at centres approved for these awards.  The purpose of the event is to share updates and best practice with experts and colleagues regarding implementation and delivery issues of the award. The network event will ideally be suited to assessors and internal verifiers involved in the day to day provision and delivery of the SVQs in Management.  This event will include:

The event will take place on Thursday 13 March 2008  in Glasgow. 

Book your place today.

Launch of NQ Core Skills Units

IMAGE: core skills

The engagement and development phase for the refreshed National Qualifications(NQ) Core Skills Units is now complete. The Units and support materials have a very different look from that of standard NQ Units. This has been illustrated throughout our engagement activities over the last year and stakeholders who were able to attend the engagement events have given us extremely positive feedback.

We are holding two events to launch the refreshed NQ Core Skills Units. Places are limited and we would encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment. Materials will be available to view on the day, so it's worth attending to ensure that you are ready for the introduction of the new Units.

SQA Academy will also play host to the refreshed Units on the launch date, so if you can’t make it on the day, you will be able to download the materials yourself, so you have time to become familiar with them. The events are being held in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Invitations have been sent out to all centres who deliver Core Skills and we anticipate strong attendance on the day! The launch dates are as follows:

  • Wednesday 12 March 2008 – Glasgow (AM)
  • Friday 14 March 2008 – Edinburgh (AM)

To indicate initial interest in the event please email the Core Skills Team. For general information about the new NQ Core Skills Units please contact Gill MacFarlane.

Workplace Core Skills Progress

PHOTO:SQA Accreditation
The Workplace Core Skills Units are continuing to move forward to their anticipated accreditation date of August 2008.  The Units and support packs, which retain the current Workplace Core Skill format, have been successfully moved through their period of engagement and are being finalised. 

SQA Accreditation have continued to engage with the CBI , Sector Skills Councils and other awarding bodies to ensure that they are kept up-to-date with progress in this area, through attending various events, such as the SVQ Update meeting.

Feedback on the refreshed Workplace Core Skills confirms we are meeting the needs of employers through our refreshed Core Skills Framework.

If you have any questions relating to the Workplace Core Skills please contact  Amanda Gray 

New SVQs in Food and Drink Manufacture

Please visit the SVQ Food and Drink subject page where you can now find information on the new SVQs in Food and Drink Manufacture including:

You can scroll down to the ‘subject-specific section’ of this page to download this information.  However, if you are having problems accessing these documents, please contact our Customer Contact Centre on 0845 279 1000.

We are celebrating the launch of these awards at a morning event on 14 March 2008 in Dundee.

In addition, we are holding an SVQ networking event for approved centres on the afternoon of 14 March in Dundee (13.30 - 14.45). The purpose of this event is to explore opportunities arising from the new standards and SVQs in Food and Drink Manufacture and share updates with external verifiers and Improve, the Sector Skills Council.  This network event will ideally be suited to assessors and internal verifiers involved in the day to day provision and delivery of the SVQs in Food and Drink Manufacturing.

Book you place today.

Success at Scotland's Colleges Marketing Awards

On Thursday 7 February 2008, Scotland's Colleges Marketing Awards celebrated their 10th Anniversary.

PHOTO:  Colleges Marketing Awards

The Marketing Awards were launched in 1999 to raise awareness, raise standards and recognise the success of marketing professionals within Scotland's colleges.

We were proud to sponsor the award for Innovation which was won by Glasgow Metropolitan College for their Digital Marketing campaign. The college decided to adopt an online advertising and search campaign (pay per click) across all types of courses in terms of subject matter and mode of attendance.  Kilmarnock College won the Silver Award and Jewel & Esk College, the Bronze.

Neil MacGowan Head of SQA's Chief Executive Department commented:

'SQA is delighted to support these awards, which are held in recognition of the important contribution marketing makes to the success of Scotland's colleges and to celebrate the high standards of professionalism attained by marketing staff.'

Gold winners in other categories were Perth College for Integrated Marketing, Cumbernauld College for Main Prospectus, Elmwood College for Market/Marketing Research, Stevenson College for Website and Ayr and Forth Valley for Relationship Marketing. The Grand Prix Award went to Perth College.

For more information about the awards.

2008 Star Awards........who are your stars?

LOGO: star awards

After our very successful inaugural star awards last year, we are delighted to announce that the 2008 event will be held on the evening of Friday 10 October 2008 in Glasgow. The ceremony will be hosted once again by Kaye Adams.

The star awards are a unique way to celebrate the success, triumph, achievement and recognition of the best in Scottish education and training. We will shortly be inviting start thinking now about nominating your stars.

We will let you all know when the nomination process begins and details of the award categories, guidance on nominating, the awards timetable and nomination forms will be available on our website.
PHOTO: 2007 Pride O'Worth winner Stow College with SQA Chief Executive Dr Janet BrownPHOTO: 2007 Pride O'Worth Winner Bruce Milne with SQA Chief Executive Dr Janet Brown

See the 2007 winners.

New Interactive English for Speakers of Other Langauges (ESOL) Learning and Teaching Materials


Do you currently deliver ESOL NQ Units or Courses to learners in schools, colleges or community learning centres?

Are you looking for new and free interactive ESOL learning and teaching materials to help you prepare and deliver these Units and Courses as well as  provide support for independent or blended learning? 

We are delighted to have developed a new ESOL e-learning CD in partnership with BTL Group Ltd, which we sent to all centres that offer ESOL qualifications the week beginning 11 February 2008.

For further information on this e-learning CD and other ESOL related information, call the ESOL development team on 0845 213 5483.

Visit our website for further information.

Survey of British Sign Language (BSL) and Deaf Awareness Provision

We are undertaking an online survey of BSL and Deaf Awareness provision in Scotland. This will inform the potential revision of our Units or the development of new Units and qualifications.

Your feedback is important to us - we invite you to participate in this survey open until Friday 21 March 2008. Thank you for your participation.

Should you require further information on this work, please e-mail Jacqueline Campbell.

Take the survey.

Learning and Development SVQs

The following SVQs are due to lapse on 31 May 2008:

We are presently preparing an Accreditation submission to extend these awards to 31 October 2009. The extension is being sought because Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) are in the process of reviewing the standards and want to ensure that they are in line with current working practices and meet future requirements of the workforce. We will keep centres updated on the timescales of the standards review via the learning and development page on our website.

In the meantime please could approved centres confirm that you are happy for us to seek the extension to 31 October 2009. You can do so by e-mailing your response to Lynne Malcolm.

Access the Learning and Development page.

Higher Urdu Event

We are planning a Higher Urdu event which will be dedicated to providing update information and promoting the understanding of standards in the internal components of the Higher Urdu.  The event will offer the opportunity to bring teaching colleagues together to learn about our standards and how they are applied to specific subject areas and levels.

Date:  Saturday 8 March 2008
Venue: Glasgow
Cost:  Free
Time:  9.30am - 4pm approx.

This event is open to all teachers/lecturers who deliver Urdu in their centres. The event will consist of sessions devoted to the following:

This event is free to participants. If you wish to attend this event, please complete and return the enclosed application form by the closing date of Friday 29 February 2008. Places will be confirmed on a first come first served basis.

Download the application form.