SQA Modern Apprenticeship Pathway scheme

Applications for SQA's Modern Apprenticeship Pathway scheme are now open. The programme incorporates valuable on-the-job training in a number of roles, with the opportunity to complete a Business and IT SVQ.

Uniquely, Modern Apprentices at working at SQA also work towards a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Business Administration as part of their training. SQA Modern Apprentices are equipped with practical, demonstrable knowledge, and skills that give them the confidence to move on to the next stage in their development. Since 2012, SQA has recruited 26 young people on to its SQA Pathways Apprenticeship programme.

Modern Apprentices at SQA can work in a variety of roles across the organisation and throughout their apprenticeship they could be placed with teams within business development, finance, organisational development, human resources, qualifications development, strategic planning and governance, and appointee management.

Amy Blain, joined SQA as a Modern Apprentice in August 2017, and is working as an administrator within SQA’s strategic planning and governance team where she undertakes a range of tasks including scheduling meetings, taking minutes, managing team mailboxes, and logging and processing requests. Amy also attends Glasgow Kelvin College once a week to complete her HNC, and has been assigned a mentor at SQA to support her through her SVQ Level 3 in Business and Administration.

Amy said: “The best part of the Modern Apprenticeship programme is the opportunities available to me to improve, and the chance to learn new skills that I can use at work. My confidence, time management, organisational, and problem solving skills, have all improved since I started working at SQA.”

Amy continued: “If you are unsure that college or university is right for you, then a Modern Apprenticeship could be the right choice. SQA’s Modern Apprenticeship programme gave me the chance to work and learn and experience further education at the same time.”

Sean Gartland joined SQA as a Modern Apprentice in September 2015 at 17. He spent his first year in the customer service team while working towards his SVQ in Business and Administration, as well as a HNC in Administration and IT at City of Glasgow College.

While in his second year, Sean was offered a permanent post and continued with his studies, successfully achieving his SVQ and HNC. Sean has since moved to join SQA’s contract operations team.

Sean says: “l enjoy working at SQA and I aim to progress much further over the coming years. Doing the apprenticeship has given me the kick-start I needed and it has helped me to advance my career.”

Sarah Ann Rooney, Employee Development Programme Manager at SQA, said: “Our Pathways programme is successful because we offer meaningful on-the-job training, plus the opportunity to complete high-value vocational qualifications. As a result most of our apprentices have gone on to secure permanent positions either with SQA, or with other employers.”

SQA qualifications, specifically Scottish Vocational Qualifications, are an integral part of the majority of the Modern Apprenticeships available across Scotland, which means our support for the young people undertaking them continues throughout the year.

Scottish Vocational Qualifications are designed to meet the National Occupational Standards outlined by a host of industries, ensuring that the skills young people develop during their apprenticeships meet the needs of employers. Young people who complete a Modern Apprenticeship are work ready and able to accurately demonstrate the skills, knowledge and experience that they have developed during their training.

Modern Apprentices such as Jack Gibson, who while completing his management apprenticeship with Glasgow-based training provider Impact Results Ltd, was working as the store manager of the Shelter Scotland shop in Ayr. While completing his SVQ in Management at SCQF level 6, Jack has seen sales at the shop go from strength to strength. Jack was recognised at SQA’s annual Star Awards, taking a Highly Commended award in the Training Organisation Candidate of the Year category, and is now working towards his SVQ in Management at SCQF level 8.

Reflecting on his achievements, Jack said: “If anyone asked me whether to do an apprenticeship, I’d say definitely go for it, because it gives you the chance to earn every month while gaining skills and qualifications to enhance your CV.”

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 and 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.”

Scottish Apprenticeship Week ran from Monday 05 to Friday 09 March. For more information, visit www.scottishapprenticeshipweek.com.