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We spoke to Christine Strachan and Cheryl MacLennan, Senior Information Librarians at North East Scotland College, about their recent recruitment experiences using the SCQF Inclusive Recruiter approach.

Background to North East Scotland College (NESCol)

North East Scotland College is the single largest provider of vocational education and training in the North East of Scotland. With three campuses – Aberdeen City, Aberdeen Altens and Fraserburgh - we have a course to suit everyone; whether you’re fresh out of school, currently working, returning to education or simply want to try something new.

We aim to deliver inspirational teaching alongside flexible and accessible courses from each of our modern and well-equipped campuses. We have a number of expert teams in place to provide support and guidance to help you along the way. Small classes, regular tuition and a range of learning support options are all part of the experience.

How has using SCQF Inclusive Recruiter in your recruitment benefited your organisation?

We recently recruited for the role of Library Information Assistant at both the Altens and Fraserburgh campuses and found that reframing our approach to the recruitment process worked really well.

In the past, we tended to focus on the library aspect of the job and received lots of applications from candidates who, on paper, ticked all of the boxes, but were completely over-qualified for the role. This led to frequent staff turnover as the post was not challenging or stimulating enough for these appointees, so they moved on pretty quickly.

However, with our SCQF Inclusive Recruiter mindset, we realised that great customer service is at the heart of the role, so placed more of an emphasis on these soft, transferable skills in the job advert and, as a result, received applications from a more varied and suitable pool of candidates. This gave us a very different shortlist and has proven to be great for retention, as the successful post-holders are a much better match for the job and enjoying their role much more.

How easy was it to embed the SCQF Inclusive Recruiter principles within your organisation’s recruitment processes?

It was a shift for us in terms of the person specification which we completely rewrote to emphasise the customer service aspect of the post, as opposed to being hung up on library qualifications and experience.

In the past we also asked for three National 5 qualifications as a minimum, which narrowed the field for us. We now look for any SCQF level 5 qualification which has opened the role up to candidates with SVQs, Modern Apprenticeships and other level 5 awards.

We would definitely recommend that other employers undertake the SCQF Inclusive Recruiter training offered by Nicola Smith, Lead for Projects and Employer Support at the SCQF Partnership. It really helped us to hone in on the type of person with the exact skillset we were looking for in the role of Information Assistant and opened our minds to rethinking the role and the profile of the kind of person that would excel in post.

Do you have any plans to further embed the SCQF within your organisation?

Having used the framework for recruitment we are definitely keen to explore further areas where it could be applied, for example in job evaluation and workforce planning. There is SCQF training and events being rolled out to college staff over the coming months which will help us to gain an understanding of how this could work in practice.


Get more information on the SCQF Inclusive Recruiter programme and how using SCQF levels in your recruitment can have a positive impact on your business.


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