New ‘Work-based’ pathway opportunities for school pupils

Young people in CnES schools now have the opportunity to choose new SQA-accredited courses designed to meet skills, competence and academic requirements of the Engineering and Health and Social Care sectors.

CnES in partnership with Lews Castle College, Skills Development Scotland, employers, SQA and Sector Skills Councils have launched work-based progression pathways (including some ‘Foundation Apprenticeships’) for pupils in senior phase in The Nicolson Institute, Castlebay, Lionacleit and Sir E Scott schools.

Available at levels SCQF 5 and 6 (old Credit Standard Grade and ‘Higher’) the two-year courses combine ‘on the job’ work-appropriate skills and competencies with school/college academic study for S5/S6 pupils, which in turn makes pupils more employable.

The pathways provide several options for further learning, qualifications and employment from Modern Apprenticeships opportunities to study at further education and degree level.

The key to the foundation apprenticeship is to provide the experience and qualification to gain employment after leaving school because of the emphasis on sector recognised learning and qualifications.

This aspect of the pathway will involve young people undertaking the relevant Scottish Vocational Qualification for social services and health care and a national progression award in health and social care that focuses on the knowledge, skills and understanding required to support people in the community.

These ‘Foundation apprenticeships’ offer industry-standard qualifications,” explains Skills and Enterprise Officer Iain Stewart. “Young people completing school years will have first-hand work competencies, and be more employable and effective contributors.”

These programmes and other school/work/college vocational education opportunities (Crofting/Local Food Production, Harris Tweed, Construction, Maritime, Energy) are in accord with ‘Developing the Young Workforce’, a national strategy launched December 2014.