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Young people ready for work

1 May 2013

  • Certificate of Work Readiness
  • SDS Press Release Archive

New qualification to offer 16 to 19-year-olds first step on the career ladder.

Scottish business is backing a new employer assessed work-based qualification to help young people prove they are ready for employment.

The Certificate of Work Readiness has been developed in partnership with the business community and aims to give unemployed young people the chance to develop the skills essential for holding down a job.

Piloted by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) in a number of areas, the certificate features 190 hours of real life work experience, and is unique in that it will only be awarded following employer assessment.

Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance said: "The latest employment figures paint an improving picture for Scotland's young people with more in work and less claiming unemployment. However, we are all too aware, that in times of economic difficulty, it is younger people, unable to get a job because they lack experience and can't build up the skills they need, who suffer the most.

"The Certificate of Work Readiness seeks to change all that. It includes a unique employer-assessed work experience placement, providing a meaningful qualification and a credible standard that employers can recognise and trust. Even if that employer doesn't have a permanent job available, the young person can leave with concrete evidence of their employability which they can use when applying for jobs.

"I'm confident that the certificate will become an integral part of our unique commitment of an offer of a place in education and training for 16 to 19-year-olds through Opportunities for All and record annual targets for Modern Apprenticeships."

Maggie Morrison, SDS board member and AGM HP Scotland, Enterprise Services, added: "The Certificate will make it so much easier for companies to offer structured work experience and, ultimately, permanent jobs. Even if a placement does not lead to full-time work, anyone able to add this qualification to their CV will have tangible, credible evidence of their work readiness that a potential employer can trust.

"It has been an age old complaint of the business community that those starting out on the first rung of the career ladder, no matter their academic ability, often do not have the practical know-how to succeed from day one. This Certificate is going to go further than anything before it in eliminating that doubt."

Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive, said: "This is a significant milestone in the journey towards creating a broad range of qualifications which prepare young people in an effective way for the modern world of work. The work experience available through the course is assessed by employers and gives young people the opportunity to receive constructive feedback on their performance, enabling them to take what they've learned forward into future job applications."


The certificate, approved by Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), already has the backing of industries, employer bodies such as the Federation of Small Businesses and companies large and small across Scotland, including the likes of Diageo, Scottish Power and Selex ES. They are confident it will help to answer the age-old complaint that there is no way of knowing if a young, untested worker is fit for their workplace.

Targeted at 16 to 19-year-olds who have a positive "can do" attitude, it will take an average of 10-12 weeks, including 190 hourswork experience, with training allowances and Educational Maintenance Allowances available.

Companies and organisations endorsing the Certificate of Work readiness include:

  • Skills Council for Admin
  • CBI Scotland
  • FSB Scotland
  • SCDI
  • Scottish Chambers of Commerce
  • Diageo
  • Scottish Power
  • Burn Stewart Distillers
  • Scottish Football League
  • YouthLink Scotland.

Case studies are available on request.

For more information visit Twitter: #certifiedready


Stuart Lewis (Scottish Government):  0131 244 2530 / 07796 335 881
Frances Ridge (Skills Development Scotland): 0141 285 6131 / 07798 682960

Source: Scottish Government press release.