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Levelling off skills; Employment FOCUS Industry-specific qualifications can now be compared to national awards thanks to the SQA's credit rating system.

THE Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework is designed to help both employers and learners understand and compare qualifications and how they relate to each other.

For qualifications or learning programmes to be included in the SCQF they must have their credit rating and level formally confirmed.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority is a recognised credit rating body for this purpose and first launched its SCQF credit rating service as a pilot in 2004. It has now credit rated qualifications and learning programmes from a variety of organisations.

One of these include the Scottish Fire Services College who submitted seven of the modules from their Firefighter Foundation Programme.

Achievement of credit rating and levelling for the programme is extremely important to the SFSC as the fire-specific modules within their training programmes cannot be easily compared to external programmes.

When firefighters leave the service, it's very difficult for them to have their learning recognised at the correct level.

Jes Eckford, of SFSC, said: "Leaving the service may happen for a variety of reasons and can arise earlier than anticipated perhaps as a result of health issues or a change in personal circumstances. In these particular instances the SCQF Credit and Levelling will have a positive benefit and will make the transition into other employment much easier."

The Scottish Childminding Association also felt that putting their scheme of excellence forward to be credit rated and levelled was an important step.

The scheme of excellence was developed as an open learning resource to encourage registered childminders to become actively involved in the development of their childminding service.

The material was designed to allow registered childminders to work through the material at their own pace, allowing them to become familiar with self-assessment and the concept of reflective practice.

This process can equip them with the understanding, broadened knowledge base and skills to progress to an appropriate qualification such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification.

Elizabeth Murdoch, head of childminding practice development, said: "By having the scheme of excellence credit-rated within the SCQF, the profile of childminding has been raised.

"Many local authority childcare partnerships look more favourably on this award, now that they can see the relatedness to nationally-recognised qualifications.

"It also enables childminders wishing to move across the sector into other occupations the chance to demonstrate their ability to work at this level of workplace competency."

These and the other organisations that have put qualifications and learning programmes through the process are now seeing the benefits of SCQF Credit Rating and Levelling.

For further information please visit www.sqa.org.uk or, alterntaively, call 0845 213 5246.

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FIRE FIGHTING SKILLS: The Scottish Fire Services College have had modules credit rated by SQA's system
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jan 18, 2007
Words:449
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