How do you design new qualifications in Scotland? | News & Insights | Skills For Justice (2024)

What is the starting point of the process for developing new qualification and apprenticeships in Scotland?

The need for a new qualification is usually identified by either Skills Development Scotland or by the employer themselves. Employers may have an update they want to make to an existing qualification or apprenticeship or have identified the need themselves for a new one.

As many of the justice sector organisations in Scotland are members of Skills for Justice, we have a close working relationship and they will get in touch to discuss their needs. We help them come up with a suitable solution and plan the next steps.

Qualifications in Scotland are based on National Occupational Standards (NOS). Each unit defines one aspect of a job or a work role, and what it is to be competent in that aspect of the job. As the Sector Skills Council for Justice, we are one of the custodians of NOS, and with our sister organisations and wider skills community work to ensure they are relevant and meet the needs of the modern workforce.

Learners can work through these NOS-based units one at a time or can gather evidence for some units at the same time. Qualifications are assessed by an occupationally competent assessor. Assessment could be at the learner’s place of work, at college or through a training provider.

How do you go about getting engagement from the sector and onboarding subject matter experts to contribute?

Having worked with employers throughout the justice sector in Scotland for a number of years, we have gathered lots of contacts within the sector. Depending on the topic and subject areas, we go out to organisations with the most relevant expertise and work with them to help identify suitable members of their organisation to join our specialist working groups. This is usually a mixture of those in Learning and Development roles, as well as people who are currently carrying out a role that the new qualification will support.

How do you then work with the expert groups to design the content of the qualification?

We use our expertise to arrange and facilitate regular workshops with our groups, focussing on key development activities such as reviewing the best selection of NOS to include in the qualification, or on the assessment strategy.

As a working group, we will identify NOS with suitable titles then scrutinise the detail within the NOS to make sure that everyone who will be undertaking the qualification will be able to provide the necessary evidence. This can take some time depending on the size of the qualification and number of NOS identified.

We handle all of the project management such as developing project timelines, managing group members and keeping the work on track through to completion. We regularly pick up tasks with group members outside of the project management meetings, carry out final checks and quality assurance before submitting qualifications for final approval.

What is the process of NOS creation and approval? What is the value of using NOS in the development of the Scottish workforce?

National Occupational Standards (NOS) are key to professional development in Scotland as qualifications are based on them. Skills for Justice puts together working groups with representatives from across the sector, from all four UK nations (Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England).

We begin by carrying out a functional analysis of the job roles that will use the NOS and use this as the basis of updating or developing new standards with the group. As a group we agree the language and terms used and hom*ogenise this throughout the standards.

Skills for Justice then consults with employers and other stakeholders across each of the UK nations. This consultation process allows any specific requirements to be considered by each nation and the result is a set of NOS that are suitable for use across the UK.

The NOS, which are set out in a common format, are approved on a four-nation basis and content is scrutinised by SQA Accreditation. Each NOS has a published date stating when it was approved, and the most current NOS are listed in the national NOS Finder Database. There is also an anticipated review date, and this will be used as a guide to when they require review and feedback from stakeholders. One of the first things we look at in qualification design is the review date of the relevant NOS, as this sets the scope of work on whether they can be used or need to be developed before the qualification can be written.

Once a qualification has been developed, how do you go about getting formal approval from the governing body or government?

With a qualification, an Accreditation Manager from the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) will be included throughout the development process. This ensures they are fully informed of the work and reasons why we have chosen a certain route.

Skills for Justice then carries out thorough consultations throughout the sector, promoting this through our expert working group and our own channels.

We have a lot of experience of working on qualification development and understand what can be to an outsider a complex approval process. Skills for Justice ensures that all of the necessary qualification products are developed to the expected standard and carry out rigorous quality assurance of them before they are put forward for approval.

So, the qualification is approved and signed off – what’s next?

Once approved, a suitable Awarding Organisation will apply to SQA Accreditation (the qualifications regulator in Scotland) to be able to offer the qualification. After this process is complete, which can take a few months, employers can apply to the Awarding Organisation themselves to become an approved centre to be able to deliver the qualification.

Skills for Justice has worked on multiple qualifications and apprenticeships for over 20 years. We are specialists in understanding the training needs of the sectors we serve and developing training solutions to help build a modern and effective workforce. We work with national standards as well as bespoke training and qualifications for our organisational clients.

Speak to our team today to find out how we can help with your training design.

Get in touch

"*" indicates required fields

How do you design new qualifications in Scotland? | News & Insights | Skills For Justice (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jeremiah Abshire

Last Updated:

Views: 5958

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jeremiah Abshire

Birthday: 1993-09-14

Address: Apt. 425 92748 Jannie Centers, Port Nikitaville, VT 82110

Phone: +8096210939894

Job: Lead Healthcare Manager

Hobby: Watching movies, Watching movies, Knapping, LARPing, Coffee roasting, Lacemaking, Gaming

Introduction: My name is Jeremiah Abshire, I am a outstanding, kind, clever, hilarious, curious, hilarious, outstanding person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.