SQA supports Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017

Monday 06 March 2017

SQA is again lending its support to Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, which runs from Monday 06 to Friday 10 March.Apprentice at work

SQA qualifications, specifically Scottish Vocational Qualifications, are an integral part of the vast majority of the Modern Apprenticeships available across Scotland. 

These high-value vocational qualifications meet the national occupational standards outlined by sector skills councils across a host of industries. This ensures that the skills young people develop during their apprenticeships meet the needs of employers.

By building employers’ requirements into the fabric of the qualifications, young people who complete a Modern Apprenticeship are work-ready, and able to accurately demonstrate the skills, knowledge and experience that they have developed over the course of their training.

As well as supporting national apprenticeship frameworks across the country, SQA has also been successfully delivering its own programme of Modern Apprenticeships since 2012.

To date, 18 young people have successfully completed a SQA Pathways Apprenticeship. The programme incorporates valuable on-the-job training across the business, an appointed mentor for the duration of the apprenticeship, who guides them and assists with the completion of a Business and Administration SVQ.  Uniquely, SQA also offers apprentices the opportunity to complete a Higher National Certificate in Administration and IT at a local college as part of their training.

Through these two distinct yet complementary qualifications, SQA is ensuring that its apprentices are equipped with practical, demonstrable knowledge and skills that will give them the confidence to move on to the next stage in their development, either with the organisation in a permanent role, or with another employer.

Recruitment for SQA’s newest intake of apprentices commences in March, with local roadshows targeting schools across Glasgow, Midlothian, and East Lothian. Applications for this year's Pathways Apprenticeship intake at SQA's offices in both Glasgow, and Dalkeith must be recieved by Friday 12 May.

Since 2012, SQA apprentices have worked in a variety of roles across the organisation including Business Development, Finance, Human Resources, International Awarding, Qualifications Development, and Appointee Management. Recently, SQA took on its first specialist Modern Apprentice, Anna-Mariya Skrupska, who will be working on a Digital Media Modern Apprenticeship assisting with the development of digital learning and assessment materials.

SQA also recognises the vital relationships between schools and employers, which opens the way for pupils to enter the world of work. SQA fully supports exciting local initiatives such as the Pre-Apprenticeship programme delivered by Craigroyston Community High School in Edinburgh. 

The school offers its senior pupils a year-long pre-apprenticeship where they complete a SVQ during timetabled class-time – alongside their other studies – and also complete tasks that promote responsibility and work-readiness, before going on to a guaranteed apprenticeship with a local employer.

The school reports that scheme has been a success; pupils’ employability opportunities have improved, while the stay-on rate from S4 to S5 has increased from 50% in 2014/15 to 90% in 2015/16, and S6 intake has doubled.

Maidie Cahill, Director of Corporate Services at SQA, said: “Our qualifications are at the heart of every modern apprenticeship across Scotland, and they give real substance to the training employers provide.  They are also flexible enough to allow for innovative delivery approaches that schools, colleges, training providers can tailor to meet local, specific requirements. We continue to support Scottish Apprenticeship Week, and we will champion the outstanding efforts of the thousands of young people across the country using them to get ahead in their careers.”

For more information about Modern Apprenticeships at SQA and how to apply for them, visit www.sqa.org.uk/pathways.

Scottish Apprenticeship Week runs from Monday 06 to Friday 10 March. For more information, visit www.scottishapprenticeshipweek.com.