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Skills for Work

Learning through practical experience

Teaching/learning programmes should include some or all of the following:

  • learning in real or simulated workplace settings
  • learning through role play activities in vocational contexts
  • carrying out case study work
  • planning and carrying out practical tasks and assignments

Learning through reflecting at all stages of the experience

Teaching/learning programmes should include some or all of the following:

  • preparing and planning for the experience
  • taking stock throughout the experience, reviewing and adapting as necessary
  • reflecting after the activity has been completed, evaluating and identifying learning points

The Skills for Work Courses are also designed to provide candidates with opportunities for developing Core Skills and enhancing skills and attitudes for employability.

Core Skills

The five Core Skills are:
  • Communication
  • Numeracy
  • Information Technology
  • Problem Solving
  • Working with Others


The skills and attitudes for employability, including self-employment, are outlined below:

  • generic skills/attitudes valued by employers
    • understanding of the workplace and the employee's responsibilities, for example time-keeping, appearance, customer care
    • self-evaluation skills
    • positive attitude to learning
    • flexible approaches to solving problems
    • adaptability and positive attitude to change
    • confidence to set goals, reflect and learn from experience
  • specific vocational skills/knowledge
    • Course Specifications highlight the links to National Occupational Standards in the vocational area and identify progression opportunities

Opportunities for developing these skills and attitudes are highlighted in each of the Course and Unit Specifications. These opportunities include giving young people direct access to workplace experiences or, through partnership arrangements, providing different learning environments and experiences which simulate aspects of the workplace. These experiences might include visits, visiting speakers, role play and other practical activities.

A Curriculum for Excellence (Scottish Executive 2004) identifies aspirations for every young person. These are that they should become:

  • successful learners
  • confident individuals
  • responsible citizens
  • effective contributors

The learning environments, the focus on experiential learning and the opportunities to develop employability and Core Skills in these Courses contribute to meeting these aspirations.

Level and Structure of Course

It is the intention that, over a period of time, an appropriate range of these Courses will be developed and tailored to the needs of candidates at levels from Access to Higher. Courses at Access will normally consist of three 40 hour Units, while at Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and Higher the Courses will normally consist of four 40 hour Units.

Achieving the Course

Courses are awarded upon successful completion of the Units which make up the Course. Units are assessed internally by the centre delivering the Course and externally verified by SQA. Assessment involves a range of different tasks, including practical assignments, short tests and keeping personal records. There is no final exam and the Courses are not graded. The added value in the Courses is focused on the development, assessment and recording of progress in agreed generic employability skills.