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Skills Development Scotland’s Education Team is working with partners across Dundee City and Angus local authorities to develop an innovative approach to skills profiling from primary school, throughout secondary school, into college
and beyond.   

Recognising that the idea of ‘a job for life’ is essentially a thing of the past, and that the education system must prepare young people to continuously develop new skills and embrace lifelong learning, the pilot work seeks to simplify the current landscape and focuses on embedding meta-skills into everyday learning and teaching so that learners are fully equipped to be able to enter and thrive in the changing world of work.

The new approach is directly in line with Education Scotland’s Guidance for Teachers and Practitioners ‘Supporting young people in profiling their skills and achievements’ and supports key national strategies including the DYW Career Education Standard.


Developing meta-skills

SDS Skills 4.0 A skills model to drive Scotland’s future offers a model of skills to enable individuals to excel in the future. The language of meta-skills has been used to develop new Skills Explorer and Skills Experience tools on (MyWoW) which underpin the creation of a personal profile.   81% of young people in Scottish secondary schools in Scotland have now registered for a MyWoW account.  The profile links to tailored and up to date information on career opportunities to help them make informed decisions. 

This pilot aims to enable individuals to identify and develop their meta-skills such as adapting, creativity and initiative that can contribute to work readiness and create high performing employees.

Innovative model

The steering group formed to implement the project in Dundee consists of staff from the local authority’s Education Department, secondary and primary schools, Dundee & Angus College and SDS. The group has worked together to identify challenges and overcome these, as well as developing a project plan that could be replicated across the city and further afield.  A similar approach is underway in Angus.

Some of the challenges identified were around awareness, understanding and consistency.  Schools felt that many pupils lacked an appreciation of their skills or confidence to identify progress made in activities both in and out of school.  For some teaching practitioners there was room to increase knowledge of transferability of skills beyond the classroom and an opportunity to further embed the language of meta-skills into learning and teaching practice. There was a common recognition that this work would allow all staff to develop a better, shared understanding of what skills are, which would in turn lead to greater learner engagement and support through key transition stages. 

The pilot sought to overcome these challenges by arranging a joint CLPL session between Dundee & Angus College and Baldragon Academy teaching staff and employers, ahead of learners starting to use the new skills tools on MyWoW.

This session involved groups working together and discussing what Skills 4.0 meta-skills looked like in their teaching or place of work, how they approach developing them and why they were important.  It provided an opportunity for forging even closer links between the partners involved and to develop a better shared understanding around skills and a common vocabulary in order to enhance the learner journey.

 Subsequently staff ‘Skills Champions’ have been identified in schools and in the College across different curricular areas to support colleagues to reflect on how they might adapt their current practice and make meta-skills more overt in learning intentions and success criteria.  Use of the skills tools on MyWoW with learners has now begun. 

"The joint CPD session was a fantastic starting point for our refreshed approach to profiling.  The rich discussion between secondary teaching staff, colleagues from Dundee & Angus College and local employers helped develop a common understanding, and improved appreciation, of what each sector valued most regarding skills and skills development.  When staff then placed the young person, and their learning journey, at the centre of these discussions, it was clear that the new My World of Work resources would be massively beneficial in supporting learning."

Hugh McAninch, Headteacher at Baldragon Academy

An innovative aspect of this pilot is the ability for learners to keep their skills profile up to date whichever pathway they take and wherever the learning takes place.  For example, individuals undertaking a Foundation Apprenticeship can capture and build their meta-skills evidence in their My World of Work account, alongside their technical skills, whether in school, at college or on work placement.  If kept current, the profile can form the basis of a personal statement at any given time that can be used for college, university or job applications.  

“The Education Team is committed to developing innovative exemplar approaches with strategic partners to widen opportunities for more young people to benefit from a seamless learner journey approach to skills profiling.   The experiences of the staff and learners involved will be evaluated and will inform the further roll out of the pilot across the local authority and beyond. This approach fits entirely with work being undertaken in SDS on embedding meta-skills and by SQA within their new generation of qualifications.”

 George Junor, SDS Education Manager

The Education Team in Skills Development Scotland currently delivers professional learning support to teaching practitioners and partners across all 32 local authorities in Scotland.  Contact the team at

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