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SQA Centre – Employability Award

The Employability Award is an accredited NQ award designed by SQA  to prepare young people – not currently in education, employment and training – for work.  It is also suitable for any adult who has little or no work experience, and volunteers who fall into this category will find it a useful way of putting the skills they have learned in their volunteering into a work context.

If you represent a group or organisation that involves volunteers, and you would like to explore how new or existing volunteers could be accredited with this Award with the support of Volunteer Glasgow, here’s some more information:

  • Award delivery is flexible.
  • Award is learner focussed.
  • Learners carry out small chunks of learning, which is less intimidating.

The aims of the award are to:

  • prepare volunteers for work.
  • help and enable volunteers to make a successful transition from non-work into employment.
  • help volunteers develop skills, attitudes and understanding to assist them in the world of work.

The award is designed to enable learners to:

  • assess their current skills by reviewing their experiences and reflecting upon their achievements, using volunteering as a vehicle
  • learn and practice techniques to aid applying for jobs
  • learn to review current job market and match skills to appropriate vacancies
  • gain an understanding of employer’s expectations and workplace etiquette

The structure of the award is that all learners must complete 3 of a possible 4 units – 2 of which are mandatory.  The timescale for the award is flexible: SQA use 40 hours as a guide, but this can be spread out over a period of time.

Volunteer Glasgow staff will enable volunteer-involving organisations to support your volunteers through the Award. Volunteer Glasgow staff will carry out all observations, assessment and internal verification.  Training will be provided for organisations on delivery and support of the Award at prearranged workshops.

If you are interested in finding out more about the award or booking a workshop place, please contact Derek by phone on 0141-226-3431 (Select Option #1, then enter Ext. 119), or by email at

General information on the Employability Award

The Employability Award, has been developed by SQA, and is designed to help young people prepare for work. It will also help implement Glasgow’s Strategic Volunteering Framework by helping young volunteers achieve a qualification that will enhance their employability.

Qualification Background

The Employability Award is derived from a number of Scottish Government initiatives designed to enhance employability skills and recognise a learner’s achievements/skills.

The government defines employability as ‘the combination of factors and processes which enable people to progress towards or get into employment, to stay in employment and move on in the workplace.’

The Award also responds to the Scottish Executive Report, A Curriculum for Excellence (2004) which called for ‘more skills-for-work options for young people to help them progress into further qualifications and work’.

For many learners, especially those in the ‘more choices, more chances’ or NEET (not in employment, education or training) group, some qualifications may be too rigid and long in duration. So to overcome that problem, this Award consists of ‘bite-sized’ Units based on smaller amounts of learning. This should make it easier for learners to achieve and to gain recognition for their achievements.

The employability award will help young people to recognise the skills and attributes they have already gained and how these can be transferred to the workplace.

Aims of the Award

The aims of the award are:

  • To build the confidence that learners have about their ability to gain employment.
  • To develop skills and attitudes necessary for them to seek, gain and sustain employment.
  • To help them to understand the consequences of actions they take, or have taken, on their ability to seek, gain and sustain employment.
  • To promote a positive and realistic approach to employment.
  • To let people identify, and reflect on, achievements, skills and attributes from their previous and current experience which will help them to gain employment.
  • To allow learners to develop appropriate job seeking skills which will enable people to access employment.

Target Group

The Award is targeted at young people who are keen to move into employment. Members of the target group can be in school, college or training programmes. Alternatively it can include unemployed young people not in any mainstream programme. This could include young volunteers who could use their volunteering experience as a vehicle to help them achieve the award.

Whilst the target group has been identified as young people, we do believe there is scope for some older people to benefit from undertaking this qualification.

Award Structure

This award structure is made up of two mandatory units and one optional unit.  The mandatory units’ aim to help prepare candidates for employment. These units are:

  • Preparing for Employment: First Steps
  • Building Own Employability Skills

The optional units focus on the work environment and the behaviours needed to sustain employment. The candidate can choose one of the following two units:

  • Responsibilities of Employment
  • Dealing with Work Situations

There is no specific time restriction and the guide duration for completing the award is 40 hours.

Click here to access the Employability Resources page — Please note the page requires a password to access the resources.

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