Update following the NPFS Conference from Scottish Government

Scottish Government have helpfully provided this update following the NPFS conference on  Developing the Young Workforce

 What is being done to support employers’ knowledge of Curriculum for Excellence?

It is vital that employers are aware of the impact Curriculum for Excellence will have on our young workforce and the increased range of skills and attributes that young people will have a result of it. The Scottish Government and its partners have undertaken a wide range of engagement activities to raise awareness and understanding amongst employers of:

  • The purpose of Curriculum for Excellence
  • The changes to the National Qualifications and the rationale for these
  • The increased skills and attributes young people will have as a result of Curriculum for Excellence
  • The benefits Curriculum for Excellence will deliver for their business
  • The opportunities Curriculum for Excellence offers them to become involved in the planning and delivery of the curriculum to ensure young people leave school with the skills and experience employers need.

The Scottish Government also has a webpage for employers to provide them with more information about Curriculum for Excellence and the National Qualifications:


There are also a number of publications and websites that have been produced by our national education partners for employers, including:


SQA’s employer’s guide to the National Qualifications:


 SCQF’s Old Vs New guide to Scottish National Qualifications:



SDS’s Our Skillsforce website:



What is the role of employability skills in schools and what can parents do to support this?

Young people have the opportunity to work towards a wide range of qualifications, as well as developing the skills they need for learning, life and work, with opportunities to gain real-life work experience. Many schools are already offering a range of vocational courses and qualifications such as SQA’s Skills for Work qualifications and the Certificate of Work Readiness.

These are available to pupils from S3, and focus on the world of work. The qualifications offer opportunities for learners to acquire these critical generic employability skills through a variety of practical experiences that are linked to a particular vocational area such as construction, engineering, hospitality etc. A number of schools are also working in partnership with colleges to offer young people Higher National Certificates in S5 and S6.

Curriculum for Excellence provides a real opportunity for employers to get involved and work together with schools and colleges to raise ambitions and equip young people with the skills and experiences they need to for the world of work. They can offer a range of programmes and opportunities including mentoring, ‘real-life’ work experience placements, work shadowing, internships and training programmes.

There are a range of practical contexts and wider opportunities within which children and young people can develop a breadth of employability skills, including enterprise in education activities, work placements and work experience, school/college partnerships, vocationally-specific opportunities such as Skills for Work courses, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award or ASDAN and nationally recognised employability programmes and awards. Many employers are parents themselves and parents can engage with local employers through their school, Parent Council, plus local business networks such as Chambers of Commerce.

 How will schools take forward the Developing the Young Workforce Programme?

 The Developing the Young Workforce Programme will be taken forward as part of Curriculum for Excellence, not an add on, starting in the Broad General Education and developing in the Senior Phase.

Under Curriculum for Excellence, we have moved away from a narrow focus to a much broader based educational experience. Curriculum for Excellence offers a more flexible curriculum, with greater personalisation and choice, to meet the needs of every learner. It should ensure that young people leave school with not only qualifications, but with crucial skills to succeed in the workplace and in life – such as confidence, problem-solving skills, teamwork, and adaptability. The Commission recommendations sit well with these aims.

Through Curriculum for Excellence, from early years onwards, teachers, parents and young people are developing a strong awareness and understanding of the range of skills needed for learning, life and work. The findings of the Commission will help to focus energy and build on this area of Curriculum for Excellence to ensure there are appropriate opportunities for all young people across all of Scotland.

What is the role of parents in taking forward the ambitions of Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce?

As outlined in the NPFS response to the Commission’s report in June, partnership working between industry, schools, colleges, parents and young people themselves is crucial. Parents should be involved as partners in schools, in career decisions, and in planning and understanding the pathways available to their children.

They can also provide a link to industry and the workplace, helping provide valuable opportunities for young people to access the world of work through work experience, mentoring schemes, taster sessions or other work based learning opportunities.

The Scottish Government, Education Scotland and the NPFS will continue to work closely over the coming months to consider what support is needed for parents and young people to develop their knowledge, understanding and involvement in this agenda.

The NPFS’s comment on the Commission’s final report can be found here: