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Apprenticeships, diversity in the workforce and embedding people’s human skills in work-based learning were top of the agenda at this year’s Scottish Training Federation (STF) Conference.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) supported the event in Glasgow, which attracted around 200 training providers from across the country.

Director of SDS National Training Programmes, Katie Hutton gave the keynote speech, thanking training providers for their efforts in achieving targets and opportunities for individuals.

Katie Hutton’s presentation focused on SDS’s continuous improvement developments on employer engagement, cutting red tape, quality assurance and progression across the apprenticeship family, equality and fair work and the Employability Fund.

Parity of esteem for apprenticeships

Other representatives from organisations across education and skills also presented their views on what the focus should be for skills policy in Scotland.

Peter B Connelly, HM Inspector and Lead Officer Post 16 Reform at Education Scotland discussed the importance of parity of esteem for apprenticeships and a need to have a curriculum at all levels and stages that connects with employment.

Mr Connelly referred to SDS’s strategic plan, Scotland 2035: A Human Future, to help tackle skills development in addition to the Scottish Government’s Future Skills Action Plan.

Importance of upskilling and re-skilling

The Action Plan was also welcomed by Principal Policy Adviser of CBI Scotland, Gregor Scotland.

Both speakers were on a panel session alongside Joe Wilson, interim Head of Centre Technical and Vocational Education at City of Glasgow College and STF Vice Chair of Employability and Director of L & G Learning, Lorna Trainer.

The session sparked discussion on the importance of upskilling and re-skilling and embedding meta-skills such as communication, creativity and team-work into work-based learning.

Providers were updated on SDS’s work on embedding meta-skills into work-based learning as part of a workshop which also briefed delegates on changes to apprenticeships and Standards.


Driving diversity and inclusion

For the first time, SDS had its own zone, which featured workshops from colleagues providing updates on National Training Programmes (NTP) delivery, contract management, FIPS, quality, compliance, frameworks and standards, commissioning and cyber resilience.

Delegates also got the chance to find out about updates to SDS’s website, with opportunity to contribute to future development.

SDS NTP Equalities manager, Ian Bruce facilitated a panel discussion in the plenary session, featuring individuals who shared diverse personal and professional stories.

The session aimed to help providers understand issues and potential barriers people can face to support employers through inclusive recruitment practice.

Delivering against future skills needs

Katie Hutton said: “The conference is an important opportunity for us to build on the year-round work of SDS colleagues to create strong and successful relationships with training providers.

“Providers are keen to understand our position on, and ambitions for, the skills landscape and we are eager to hear their views on how the programmes can continue to be delivered to a high standard.”

STF Chair, Ian McCulloch said: “It was clear from the conference that training providers are focused and committed to deliver high quality apprenticeships and keen to adapt their practice to meet future skills needs.

“Providers play a major role in driving productivity in Scotland, through the recognition for upskilling and re-skilling in the workplace and the effort to effectively embed meta skills in work-based learning.”

More information

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