Applications open for SQA Apprenticeship Scheme

Friday 5 November 2021

Applications are now open for young people to join the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) as a Modern Apprentice.

The new recruits will spend a year gaining valuable work experience with Scotland’s national awarding and accreditation body.

Throughout their time at SQA, the Modern Apprentices will also complete a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Business & Administration.

Sarah Anne Rooney, SQA Employee Development Programme Manager, says successful applicants to the programme – which is open to all those aged between 16 and 19, and up to 29 for any care-experienced young people – will be fully supported as they take their first steps into the world of work.

Sarah Anne Rooney adds: “We want to hear from applicants who are able to tell us that they are keen to learn. Whilst at SQA, they will have real responsibilities and be valued team members. At the end of their apprenticeship, we want our apprentices to have the experience and confidence to progress in their career or into further, or higher education.”

SQA has recently formalised its commitment to supporting young people as they enter the workforce, by signing up to the Young Person's Guarantee.

Dawnne Mahmoud, Director of People at SQA, explains: “The Young Person's Guarantee is a fantastic opportunity for employers like SQA to invest in young people. In equipping our Modern Apprentices with valuable skills, we are not only helping them make a significant contribution during their time at SQA, but we are setting them up to thrive in their future career, whatever that may look like.  

“Given the challenges caused by the pandemic, it is more important than ever that SQA joins other employers in committing to developing the young workforce.”

Minister for Higher/Further Education, Youth Employment and Training, Jamie Hepburn MSP said: “The Young Person’s Guarantee is a joint commitment to provide opportunities for all 16-24 year olds in Scotland through jobs, apprenticeships, further and higher education, training programmes and volunteering.

“I’m delighted that SQA have signed up to the Guarantee and are creating such valuable work-based learning opportunities. I would encourage all employers to think about how they can help our young people at this time.”

Dawnne Mahmoud acknowledges that the pandemic presents some practical challenges, but says adaptations are in place to ensure SQA’s new Modern Apprentices will be well supported.

Dawnne adds: “Changing our recruitment process has allowed us to progress with MA recruitment over the past two years. We developed a six-week series of virtual workshops to equip the new apprentices with core skills necessary in the world of work, and throughout their induction, our apprentices have regular video calls with colleagues in their business area, as well as with their Mentors.” 

David McCallister, who joined SQA as a Modern Apprentice last year, says: “The support that has been given to me while working from home has been excellent - everybody in my team and the wider organisation has been there for me during my time as a Modern Apprentice.”

SQA are working in partnership with training provider RT Resources, who have also signed up to the Young Person's Guarantee, to allow apprentices to progress with their Scottish Vocational Qualification.

Claire McCallum of RT Resources says: “Over the past two years, RT Resources and SQA have adapted to new ways of working to ensure apprentices receive the support they need.  We will once again work together to make sure they develop the skills they need to thrive in the new world of work.”

Ellie Taylor, who secured a permanent position at SQA after completing her Modern Apprenticeship, says of the programme: “It allowed me to gain an industry recognised qualification as well as to develop a wide range of new skills – all whilst working from home. SQA’s fantastic support network made me feel so welcome.”

Find information on Modern Apprenticeships at SQA, and details about how to apply. The closing date for applications is Sunday 21 November.

Learn more about the Young Person's Guarantee.