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Skills Development Scotland is set to take on the management of the database for UK-wide occupational standards.

Working with Scottish Government and the devolved administrations, SDS will manage the National Occupational Standards (NOS) database from November.

The standards are used across the UK, specifying the standards of performance individuals must achieve in the workplace, together with the knowledge and understanding required for roles.

How they work

Developed for employers and by employers through the relevant Sector Skills Council or Standards Setting Organisation, they are used to create qualifications including SVQs used in Modern Apprenticeship frameworks, and can be used by employers to create job descriptions and by individuals to research careers.

A new era

The database which holds all 20,000 approved NOS, covering most sectors of the economy, has until now been managed and maintained by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

With UKCES closing this year following the withdrawal of UK Government funding and a shift in skills policy away from NOS in England, the devolved administrations in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland have asked that Skills Development Scotland take over the management of NOS and related activity on an interim basis.

This covers three broad areas:

  • Hosting the NOS database and ensuring its on-going maintenance and management
  • Managing contracts with delivery partners for the revision and development of NOS, vocational qualifications and apprenticeship frameworks across the Devolved Administrations
  • During 2016-17, supporting the three devolved administrations in developing a future policy approach to NOS.

Meeting needs of economy

Policy and MA Advisory Board Manager at SDS, Jane Duffy, said: “Continuous input and feedback from industry and employers is vital in creating a demand-led system of learning, training and apprenticeships that meets the needs of the economy.

“The management of NOS and related activity offers SDS the opportunity to extend its work around standards and frameworks, working closely with Government officials, employers and interested stakeholders across Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

“This will support the devolved administrations in developing a cohesive and robust skills system for employers across the UK. We are currently working with the devolved administrations and UKCES on transferring current activity by 1 November 2016. We will offer further updates on this as details are finalised.”

Jane Duffy, SDS Policy and MA Advisory Board Manager

What's next?

For the time being, the database can still be accessed at 

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