Steps to Work

Using laptop

The Steps to Work Award fills an identified gap in the education of vulnerable, disengaged and hard to reach young people. Available at SCQF levels 2, 3 and 4, it provides a stepping stone for some learners between school, further education, training and employment.

The Award aims to develop self esteem, self awareness and self confidence. Candidates are encouraged to engage in learning by focusing on an area that interests them. Through practical activities, candidates can develop employability skills and self awareness to help them recognise their own strengths and the contribution they can make to society. This qualification is available in schools and colleges.


Features of the award

  • Flexible in size and structure.
  • Capable of capturing achievement in smaller chunks of learning.
  • There’s no Course assessment — assessment focuses on the Units.
  • It is SCQF levelled.
  • The Award is ungraded
  • To achieve the Award learners must successfully complete a minimum of 1 credit from each of the two sections.
  • Achievement is recognised — the Award appears on the Scottish Qualifications Certificate.
  • Skills and knowledge can be developed through experience and activity.
  • Centres can choose activities and methods of delivery that suit the needs of their learners
  • Allows personalisation and choice

Within these contexts there is a wide range of Units to choose from. This gives centres the flexibility to develop a programme which best suits the needs and interests of their learners.



Qualification content and delivery tools

Arrangements Documents

Why deliver this qualification?

The Step to Work Award is flexible in size and structure to maximize personalisation and choice. This allows centres to choose activities and delivery methods which best suit their circumstances and candidates.

In this Course, skills and knowledge are developed through experience and activity and assessment focuses on the Units, with no overall course assessment. The Award is ungraded and there is no external assessment.

Achievement of this qualification is nationally recognised

Who does the qualification suit?

The Steps to Work Award is designed to help vulnerable disengaged and hard to reach learners. The flexible nature of the Award also makes it suitable for a wide range of candidates from different educational settings such as schools, colleges, educational training providers, the community or the voluntary sector.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.


Candidates may progress to:

  • further learning
  • voluntary work
  • employment


Centres with devolved authority are eligible to seek approval through their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance in completing the combined CA1/SA1 form.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements as outlined in the guide to approval.

Unit(s) and delivery tools

Group Award code

SCQF level 3 — G9P0 43 (12 SCQF credit points)
SCQF level 4 — G9RW 44 (12 SCQF credit points)

To achieve the Award, candidates must successfully complete a minimum of one credit from each section, Person Centred or Practical Context.

The Person Centred Units focus on life skills and the areas of personal development those are key to successful learning and progression. Candidates can choose from the following Units:

Personal Development: Practical Abilities — F37Y
Personal Development: Self & Work — F37X
Personal Development: Self Awareness — F2FV
Personal Development: Self in Society — F37W
Preparing for Employment : First Steps — F786
Building Own Employability Skills — F787
Responsibilities of Employment — F788
Dealing with Work Situations — F789

The Practical Context section allows candidates to develop skills and knowledge in an area which interests them. The Practical Contexts include:

  • Sport and Outdoor Activity
  • Arts and Media
  • ICT
  • Community Development
  • Work-based Skills

Within each context there is a wide range of Units to choose from, giving centres the flexibility to develop a programme which best suits the needs and interests of their candidates.

Whether a learner achieves at SCQF level 3 or SCQF level 4 depends on: the amount of support they receive; their level of participation; their level of understanding; the complexity of tasks carried out; and the level of maturity displayed.

Many of the Units within the Award have an Assessment Support Pack (ASP) or National Assessment Bank (NAB) item. These are available to download via SQA’s secure website.