SQA’s Derek Houston (right), and David Hannah of QA Apprenticeships with QA Apprenticeships candidates.

A partnership for future skills

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is working with employers and training providers to meet Scotland’s skills needs and understand key sectoral trends. SQA is supporting businesses and learners across Scotland in an ever-changing digital landscape. Information technology skills specialist QA Apprenticeships has been working with SQA.

Information technology (IT) and business apprenticeships provider, QA Apprenticeships, has 1,000 candidates across Scotland, it supports employers and provides award-winning apprenticeship programmes.

QA has more than 30 years’ experience in IT training and develops apprenticeships that deliver for its client-base of employers across both Scotland and England, with offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

In 2011, it became an SQA Approved Centre and now delivers SQA qualifications that are relevant to employers and develops the right work-place skills for learners. These include:

  • Diplomas in Information Security
  • Diplomas in Information Technology and Telecommunications
  • Diplomas in Digital Marketing
  • Diplomas in Digital Application Support
  • SVQs in Business and Administration
  • SVQs in Providing Financial Services
  • National Progression Awards in PC Passport

Over the years, this partnership has grown and has allowed QA to enhance its performance in Scottish markets and make a significant contribution to the digital skills landscape.

David Hannah, QA’s head of delivery apprenticeships – Scotland, is delighted with how the working partnership with SQA has evolved: “We work consistently with SQA to deliver a quality solution for our clients and our learners. The support we receive from our account manager, Derek Houston, is invaluable. He has guided us through SQA’s robust quality assurance processes and ensures we benefit from SQA’s expertise.

“Some 92% of QA employers say we add value to their business – becoming an SQA Approved Centre has allowed us to increase this value. Not only do we now deliver a range of SQA qualifications, we also have direct involvement in the development of qualifications.

SQADavid continues: “Feedback from our customers highlighted a need for qualifications in digital marketing. We worked closely with Derek and SQA’s qualifications development teams to get the digital marketing diploma created and credit rated on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

“This qualification is now the key component of a recognised Modern Apprenticeship in digital marketing in Scotland.”

Derek Houston, SQA regional manager for Glasgow, has helped build this partnership with QA, and has regular involvement with employers and key stakeholders in the information and communications technology (ICT) and digital sectors: “In 2016, I worked with Skills Development Scotland to engage with employers addressing issues affecting the ICT and digital sectors.

This resulted in the formation of the Tech Industry Advisory Board (TIAB), which aims to shape the future of qualifications for ICT and digital sectors, by encouraging collaboration between public and private sector organisations.

“This group is taking big steps in achieving this – with certain members involved in the development of Higher National Certificates (HNCs), Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), and Professional Development Awards (PDAs) in cyber security.

“SQA is delighted to be working in partnership with QA Apprenticeships. This partnership can be replicated anywhere across a range of sectors. Our dedicated team of regional managers and business development consultants are ready to work with employers across Scotland to ensure we are meeting future skills needs.”

Sponsored by the Scottish Government’s learning directorate, SQA is committed to supporting the Scottish education system. It’s regional managers actively engage with public, private and third sector organisations as well as schools and colleges to ensure Scotland’s qualifications are robust, relevant and respected.

SQA qualifications are designed and continually reviewed in partnership with industry experts to foster the workplace skills and experience needed in the real working world to make businesses more competitive and Scotland’s economy more dynamic.

As Scotland’s national awarding body, it is uniquely placed to support businesses in an ever-changing skills landscape — working closely with Skills Development Scotland, local authorities, and other private, public and third sector organisations.

SQA also has centres in other parts of the UK and across the globe. It is recognised by the Office of Qualifications & Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) to deliver qualifications in England, and its international operations include an established programme in China.

Every business working with SQA has a dedicated account manager – one point of contact who will take the time to get to know them and how they work, and who understands the particular challenges in their area.

SQA’s account managers advise organisations on the best possible journey for enhancing workforces in a range of sectors. Working together, they can continue to give Scotland a happier, more productive, more reliable and more skilled workforce.


To find out more about SQA’s business development team visit email or call 0303 333 0330