SQA's internationally recognised qualifications benefit global learners

Monday 20 November 2023

This week, SQA is one of the sponsors of the British Council’s Going Global conference in Edinburgh, where senior leaders and policy influencers in international education connect, share knowledge, and build global networks to help shape the future of further and higher education.

SQA is the national awarding and accreditation body in Scotland, and a global leader in developing and providing internationally recognised and respected qualifications and assessment services.

SQA has engaged positively with and operated in international markets and jurisdictions since its creation in 1997. Today, SQA plays a key role in positioning ‘Brand Scotland’ around the world, helping to promote Scotland as a great place to live, work, study, visit and do business.

SQA’s work in overseas markets includes countries across the Americas, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. It includes:

In addition to Advanced Certificates and Diplomas, SQA offers a range of qualifications to international customers including National Progression Awards, Professional Development Awards, and Customised Awards that are delivered by universities and training providers. SQA ‘s Consultancy Services also help establish secure educational and training progression routes for learners.

Fiona Robertson, SQA Chief Executive, said: “SQA is proud to operate internationally and to show the world what Scotland has to offer. Our international work will continue to develop and grow as we move towards the establishment of the new qualifications body. We will continue to demonstrate to our customers that working with SQA and its successor, and so with Scotland, is beneficial and positive for our international partners and customers.”

Gillian Hepburn, Head of International at SQA, adds; “Our products and services are well regarded internationally. Our international partners recognise the value on offer, and that provides us – and Scotland as an outward-looking nation – with the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from the international community and support the Scottish Government’s international strategy; promoting Scottish education, and Scotland worldwide. Our activity supports the Scottish Government’s international agenda and its outcomes and allows us to share good practice.”

SQA embeds industry standards in its qualifications, and strives to ensure that its qualifications are inclusive, accessible to all, and that they provide learners with clear progression pathways. Further education institutions around the world recognise and trust SQA qualifications. They know that the students who achieve them are able to demonstrate a passion for lifelong learning, skills, knowledge, and understanding, which are often sought after by universities and employers.

Ms Hepburn said: “Increasing opportunities to learners, supporting workforce development, and helping to build in-country capacity have been at the heart of SQA’s international approach. Our international work has made a significant contribution, forged strong relationships, and helped us develop opportunities that contribute to sustainable economic growth in Scotland.”

“For international learners, achieving an SQA Advanced Certificate or SQA Advanced Diploma is one of the best ways to develop skills and knowledge in a chosen sector – just as it is with learners here in Scotland. It gives them the flexibility to go straight into the workforce or continue in their current role and develop their career with enhanced skills and knowledge, or progress on to advanced entry into an affiliated university via our Diploma to Degree programme.”

Speaking ahead of the Going Global conference, Ms Hepburn adds: “To have Going Global on our doorstep this year is a fantastic opportunity for SQA. It’s important for SQA to contribute to the discussions surrounding how education authorities across the world address issues surrounding sustainability, scalability, and equitable partnerships in tertiary education.”

More information about SQA’s international work

Going Global took place from 20 to 22 November, in Edinburgh.