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Is that on the SCQF...? Part 3

Group of Venture Scotland students doing team building exercise outdoors at Glen Etive

In the third of a new series of blogs, we look at some of the more unusual programmes that are on the SCQF. Read on to find out more about the Etive Awards from David Brackenridge, CEO at Venture Scotland.

Venture Scotland provides an outdoor-based personal development programme for the most disadvantaged young people that helps them to turn their own lives around. We make use of the hills and waterways across Scotland and at our Highland bothy in Glen Etive.

Together with our strong network of skilled volunteers, we help young people gain the confidence, skills and qualifications they need to:

• gain a qualification, job or training place;
• build a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life for themselves; and
• give something back to help others.

We work with approximately 160 young people per year across our two bases in Edinburgh and Glasgow. We focus on young people aged 16-30 from the most deprived areas who lack the confidence and motivation to further their career or education. Many of these young people are not surrounded by positive role models who provide encouragement and support. The presence and time provided by our outdoor youth workers make a huge difference to their sense of self-worth. Our programme develops the skills and traits needed for work, but it is young people's wellbeing and aspirations that we make the biggest impact on.

The young people we work with have many complex issues - many are care experienced, some are homeless, have learning difficulties and mental health issues are commonplace.

The Etive Awards allow young people to grow their self-esteem by challenging themselves with new experiences. It is an inclusive experience for all young people without barriers to participation. The programme is delivered outdoors, showing young people that their capabilities are not limited to a classroom. Each stage of the Awards has been SCQF credit rated by SQA meaning that young people will achieve formal recognition for any or all stages completed.

As well as gaining a recognised Etive Awards qualification, young people will experience improved health and wellbeing and will have significantly reduced a key problem area (e.g. drugs, offending, mental health). Young people will graduate and move into a positive destination - either employment, further education or training.

An Etive Awards learner, Mark, says: “The team at Venture Scotland helped me a lot. Spending time outdoors gave me some time to myself to think about my goals and what I wanted for my life. Before coming to Venture Scotland I had a criminal history, took drugs and had been in prison. Now I'm focused on my job and my future.”

The Etive Awards programme is made up of a number of awards at various SCQF levels:

Name of Award

SCQF Level

SCQF Credits

Etive Award - Challenge



Etive Award - Discover



Etive Award - Explore



Etive Award - Leadership



For more information on learning programmes on the SCQF, have a look at the SCQF Database.

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