concept_logoBackground to Concept Northern

For over twenty years, Concept Northern have specialised in providing hardware, software and training to people with dyslexia and other learning challenges. Using assistive technology can have a transformative effect on the lives of students, employees and private individuals, making literacy issues significantly more manageable.

Background to the qualification

When Technical Director Andy Tasker searched for a widely-recognised qualification for learners to prove their literacy and business skills to employers, he found the marketplace wanting.

“People with dyslexia often find themselves excluded from the mainstream,” says Andy, “and it isn’t surprising that there was no SCQF-rated course available for them to show how they can achieve parity with their peers in the workplace. That’s why we designed, developed and produced our own SQA Customised Award – Assistive Technology Associate.”

How has having your learning programme SCQF credit rated benefited your learners and your organisation?

For many persons with dyslexia, confidence in their own abilities and their ability to perform certain job roles can be an issue. Our award trains learners how Assistive Technology can support their dyslexia, but having it credit rated gives them another qualification to put on their C.V. This boosts confidence and demonstrates their skills to potential employers.

BecomeWorkReadyHow do the skills acquired through the programme benefit learners?

Credit rated at an inclusive SCQF Level 5 and comprising 120 learning hours, the award contains seven units. The first four concentrate on introducing the learner to three key assistive technology tools – Texthelp Read&Write, Matchware MindView and Audio Notetaker – as well as the core Microsoft Office applications.

Equipped with the these essential software skills, learners are then guided through three business skill units, focusing on business reading and writing, time management and workplace communication.

“We looked at what dyslexic leaners need to be able to do to succeed in the workplace,” says Andy, “and then we designed the award around that. Employers value SQA-approved qualifications and, for the first time, our unique award helps learners prove that they’re ready to deliver results.”

How do people go about accessing these resources?

Learning resources – including extensive video tutorials and interactive modules – are hosted on the company’s industry standard learning portal – Assessments include portfolio exercises, demonstrations and a final examination. Funding may be available for learners depending on individual circumstances.

Concept Northern are an approved SQA and ILA centre. For more information on the award, funding routes, or any of our other services, visit or get in touch with Andy Tasker at

What future plans do you have for further programmes to be credit rated onto the SCQF?

We are currently looking into the possibility of developing a Customised Award which focuses on supporting employees with Additional Support Needs (ASN). The award will train learners on aspects of various disabilities and how they affect individuals in the workplace. We will then go on to train how to assess the individual requirements of an employee with ASN, implementing reasonable adjustments and other solutions which help establish an equal and inclusive workplace.

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