Sector Bodies – typically these are Sector Skills Councils although other types of organisations are also involved. The Sector Bodies develop National Occupational Standards (NOS) which underpin SVQs and alternative Competence Based Qualifications. When developing or reviewing NOS, the Sector Bodies are required to consult with industry (the consultation must include individual employers but can also include Trade Associations) and ensure that industry is content with the content of the NOS.
Once the NOS have been approved, the Sector Body will develop the structure for the SVQ or the CBQ. Again, it is required to consult with industry regarding the structure of the qualification, and it is also required to include Awarding Bodies in this consultation to ensure that the structure is a meaningful structure and that there are no barriers to an individual undertaking the qualification. Once the structure has been agreed by industry and awarding bodies, it is submitted to SQA Accreditation for approval.
Sector bodies also develop the Modern Apprenticeship framework. In so doing, the sector bodies again consult with the industry with regards to the contents of the framework. In addition, they must also consult with the relevant Trade Unions to get their support for the framework. Once it has both employer support and Trade Union support, the framework is submitted to the Modern Apprenticeship Group for approval.
SQA Accreditation is the national accreditation body in Scotland and has a regulatory role. It approves awarding bodies and accredits qualifications (other than degrees. SVQs must be accredited by SQA Accreditation as are those CBQs which form the mandatory component of a Modern Apprenticeship. Once the SVQ or CBQ structure has been approved, awarding bodies approved by SQA Accreditation can develop the structure into a qualification and submit the qualification for accreditation.
Awarding Bodies design and develop qualifications and approve Further Education Colleges and training providers to deliver and assess the qualifications. Awarding Bodies are responsible for the quality assurance of the qualifications and to ensure that the assessments conducted by the Further Education Colleges and Training Providers are of an appropriate standard.
SQA Accreditation regulates the Awarding Bodies and accredited qualifications by conducting audits of the Awarding Bodies and carrying out monitoring visits to a sample of each Awarding Bodies approved providers.
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is the national skills body for Scotland. It delivers a range of services to individuals and employers across the country. These include:
• providing the national Careers Information, Advice and Guidance (CIAG) service
• managing and developing the Scottish apprenticeship scheme
• working with employers to support and respond to their skills needs
• developing a robust evidence base to articulate the current and future skills demands of Scotland and ensure that skills investment is evidence-based and aligned with skills demand
• managing a range of employability programmes to support individuals to take their first steps into the labour market, or to make successful career changes and progression
The above describes the current situation with regards to the design, development, assessment and certification of apprenticeships. However, there are plans to change some aspects of this within the near future.