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SQA Providing Apprenticeship Opportunities In Midlothian

9th March 2020

From Monday 2 March, applications are open for this year’s intake of Modern Apprentices at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) offices near Dalkeith.

This is the eighth year SQA has run its Pathway Programme, which sees young starts aged between 16 and 19 take on a variety of roles and responsibilities with Scotland’s national awarding and accreditation body.

SQA’s Pathway programme helps young school leavers take the first step in their career by providing them with relevant work experience across a variety of departments – including Finance, HR, Business Systems, Marketing and Communications, and Events – combined with the opportunity to gain two nationally recognised qualifications.

Cameron Summerville, a former Modern Apprentice, who joined SQA straight from school in 2017, offered his views on his experience working towards his apprenticeship, and how it has helped him in his career.

The former Dalkeith High School pupil said: “I wasn’t too sure on what I wanted to do after I left school, so the opportunity to gain qualifications at college and in work whilst earning a salary was very appealing to me. Also, the fact that I would get to rotate around different departments over the two years to see what sort of thing I enjoyed doing was a huge bonus. I learnt a lot about myself and gained lots of skills and experiences to boost my CV once my apprenticeship finished, and it was time to get a permanent job.”

Cameron added: “Originally, my aim was to complete my apprenticeship and gain my qualifications, then move onto new things. However, I enjoyed my time at SQA so much that I felt applying for a permanent role was the right thing for me. I’m young, so I’ve still got plenty of time to decide what I want to do, but in the meantime, I’ve been working for over two years, I’m now a supervisor, and I’ve got a couple of good qualifications that demonstrate my knowledge and skills.”

“I would encourage any young person trying to figure out what they want to do, to give the Modern Apprenticeship at SQA a try. Whether you eventually apply for a job with SQA, move to a new employer, or consider further education and training at the end of the programme is completely up to you and you will be supported equally with whatever you decide.”

Sarah Anne Rooney, Employee Development Programme Manager at SQA, adds: “Modern Apprentices at SQA are working members of our teams. They have real responsibilities, and they do value-adding work. But while they are with us, we also ensure that they are fully supported in their development and can gain the skills and experience they need to complete their SVQ and their HNC.”

Sarah Anne continues: “In addition, our Modern Apprentices are encouraged to contribute, or in some cases even lead on projects and initiatives away from their day-to-day roles. Our current Year 2 Modern Apprentices were named winners of the 2019 Glasgow Apprenticeship Challenge, and on Friday 6 March they’ll be among the finalists of the Scottish Apprenticeship Challenge.”

The team from SQA – Lindsey Burke, Anna McGowan, Lauren Graham, and Eve Cunningham – were shortlisted after winning the Glasgow Apprenticeship Challenge back in November, for their project developing a work-experience programme for a young service user from Cherry Road Learning Centre in Dalkeith. SQA’s Modern Apprentices have also led employability workshops in schools across the east of Scotland, most recently at Dalkeith High School.

Sarah Anne Rooney says: “Our programme allows each SQA Modern Apprentice to develop a rounded approach to work. They gain real transferable skills, which are backed up by two nationally recognised qualifications they can use to take forward into further education and training, or into future business and administrative positions with SQA, or with another employer.”

“What’s more, this year SQA is hoping to start offering a new Foundation Apprenticeship at our Dalkeith office.  We’re working with neighbouring secondary schools, and the local authority with the aim of having the roles in place towards the end of the year.”

Applications are now being accepted for entry onto the 2020 SQA Pathways Modern Apprenticeship programme. For further details on how to apply, visit www.sqa.org.uk/pathway.

Information on the SQA qualifications that underpin Modern Apprenticeships, Foundation Apprenticeships, and Graduate Apprenticeships, can be found at www.sqa.org.uk/apprenticeships

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