CITB retains Skills Test in new SVQs after strong industry support
As a result of a wide and detailed consultation with employers and educators in Scotland, CITB has ensured a set of nine, new, craft Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) will be ready for the new intake of Apprentices in August and that the SVQs now formally incorporate the highly valued Skills Test.
In early 2017, CITB sought the views of the industry on the Skills Test element of the SVQs. A review by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) highlighted that the Skills Test – an important assessment of a candidate’s occupational competence in their craft, such as bricklaying, plastering or stonemasonry – was not currently a formal part of the SVQ award and was at risk of removal from the framework. This raised the question as to whether the 2017/18 apprenticeships programme in Scotland could continue.
CITB conducted 14 consultation events to gather the views of over 173 employers in Scotland throughout February. The response from employers was overwhelmingly in favour of the Skills Test – 95% voted to keep it within the SVQ. Many said they wished to make it an integral part of the apprenticeship programme, rather than a separate process.
Ian Hughes, CITB strategic partnerships director in Scotland, said: “When the industry told us that they wanted to keep the Skills Test, we took action.
“In March, we presented employer feedback to representatives of the Scottish Government, the SQA, and industry representatives. The SQA agreed to accept the results of our consultation. CITB responded by developing nine new craft SVQs incorporating a new Skills Test unit which met regulatory and employer requirements. This provides an easier process for employers, with far less paperwork. It is another example of how CITB works closely with industry to make sure that the qualifications and standards we look after are constantly being tailored to meet their needs.
“I’m pleased to say that with support of this fully integrated and assured SVQ, the newly refreshed apprenticeship framework will be in place in time to commence new apprentice sign ups in August.”
As part of the new framework, CITB has:
- Ensured the Skills Test is formally incorporated within the SVQ award for all nine craft apprenticeships including bricklaying, carpentry, joinery, painting & decorating, plastering, roof slating & tiling, stonemasonry, wall & floor tiling and wood machining;
- Protected the duration of the apprenticeship so that it can only be gained over a four-year period, allowing time for completion of all units as well as the Skills Test;
- Ensured the previously unregulated Skills Test process is under the quality control and assurance of the Regulator and Awarding Organisations.