Collaboration is key to SQA's Learning for Sustainability approach

Tuesday 9 November 2021

The global interest in the 26th UN Climate Change Conference serves to emphasise the importance of this issue to people around the world.

Whilst COP26 is focused on the need for international collaboration to tackle the climate crisis, it has also highlighted the need for action at a local level. This includes a rallying call for businesses to play their part.

As Scotland’s national awarding and accreditation body, SQA is in the privileged position of being able to develop learners’ knowledge and awarness of environmental issues, through its wide range of qualifications and awards.

SQA works in partnership with sector specialists when developing our qualifications, to ensure that they meet the needs of learners, employers, and broader society.

Learning for Sustainability

This partnership approach is central to SQA’s contribution to the Scottish Government’s Learning for Sustainability (LfS) Action Plan.

LfS aims to provide schools, and their wider communities, with the necessary tools to develop practices and take decisions which are compatible with a sustainable and equitable society.

Alongside Education Scotland and other stakeholders, SQA is incorporating the knowledge and skills of LfS into all new and revised National Courses, Skills for Work Courses, and learning pathways. This provides Scotland’s teachers with a platform to deliver LfS topics as a key aspect of their learning and teaching practice.

The fundamentals of LfS are embedded into SQA’s National 5 Environmental Science course. The course allows candidates to investigate the world in an engaging way, including through fieldwork activity, and equips them with the confidence and skills to take a problem-solving approach to environmental issues.

Equipped with an awareness around sustainability and environmental issues, these young people will leave school better able to take their next steps as environmentally responsible citizens.

Find more information on SQA’s Learning for Sustainability activities.

SQA Environment and Land Based qualifications

SQA qualifications provide a pathway for learners of any age who wish to pursue a career within the Land Based and Environment sector.

These qualifications cover a wide variety of disciplines, including Environmental Management, and Forestry, and are designed in collaboration to ensure they remain relevant in what is a continually evolving industry.

For example, SQA’s Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), which provide a way for those employed in the sector to have their skills formally recognised, are developed in partnership with Lantra, the Sector Skills Council, and are based on National Occupational Standards.

Find more information on SQA’s Land Based and Environmental qualifications.

SQA Environmental Strategy

SQA also takes seriously its environmental responsibilities in its capacity as a large public sector employer. This has been reaffirmed in SQA’s recently published Environmental Strategy 2021-24.

The strategy will see us maximise our environmental performance by enhancing existing practices, for example by increasing recycling, reducing consumption of natural resources, and adopting digital processes where possible.

Watch this video to learn about SQA's organisation-wide approach, which regular monitoring has shown is helping SQA contribute to the national endeavour of achieving net zero emissions by 2045.

Environmental action in the community

SQA’s environmental activities extend into the communities around our Glasgow and Dalkeith offices, thanks to employee volunteering opportunities.

Prior to the pandemic, this saw teams spend the day litter picking along Glasgow’s canal network, and planting trees at the city’s Gartnavel Hospital community garden.

Further to the East. SQA staff have taken part in tree planting at The Royal High School in Edinburgh, litter picking along Musselburgh beach, and tending to the garden at the Cyrenians Midlothian Community Hospital.