Following overwhelming support from the industry, the CITB has formally incorporated a skills test into Scottish Vocational Qualifications
Earlier this year the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) launched a consultation into the skills test element of the Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). As a result of feedback from industry, SVQs will now formally incorporate the highly valued skills test.
A review, carried out by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), discovered the skills test element of SVQs was seen as an important assessment of a candidate’s occupational competency. However, it was not a formal part of the qualification and faced being removed from the framework altogether. This called into question the longevity of the apprenticeship programme and if the 2017/18 intake would go ahead.
Adapted to meet the needs of the industry
Overwhelming support for an incorporated skills test was seen from Scottish employers. The consultation from the CITB involved over 173 firms who provided their views at 14 events throughout February. A total of 95 per cent voted to keep the skills test within the SVQs and many called for it to be made an integral part of the apprenticeship programme, rather than a separate process.
CITB’s Strategic Partnerships Director in Scotland Ian Hughes said the views of the sector had been taken into account when making the decision. He 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.”
The new framework will see the skills test incorporated for all nine craft apprenticeships. This includes bricklaying, carpentry, joinery, painting and decorating, plastering, roof slating and tiling, stonemasonry, wall and floor tiling and wood machining.
Furthermore, the skills test will no longer be unregulated and will come under the assurance of the Regulator and Awarding Organisations. CITB said the new framework would also ensure the duration of the apprenticeship is protected, which will allow time for the completion of all units as well as the skills test.