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Aileen Ponton, CEO, Reflects on 15 years with the SCQF Partnership

As I spend my last few weeks with SCQFP I have been reflecting on my own journey as well as that of the organisation. When I was appointed as CEO in July 2007 I had 1.5 staff, one room and a very long priority list from my Board. I had over twenty years’ experience in qualifications but knew very little about running a business. So my learning journey started right then and has continued on a daily basis right up until now.

It is fair to say that I have loved every minute of that journey. I have worked with some terrific people both within the organisation and with my Board but also with external stakeholders. I have seen so much change and growth in the use of the SCQF which I put down to the efforts my team have made to ensure that they provide both a friendly and professional service, demonstrating on a daily basis how the SCQF can add value to learners, institutions and employers.

Back in 2007 only SQA and HEI qualifications were on the SCQF. Today we have our own SCQF database which includes over 11,500 qualifications and learning programmes owned by over 130 different organisations from public, private and third sectors.

The use of social media was minimal and now like most other organisations we have a communications strategy which includes digital media and we have developed a wide range of blogs, videos and case studies demonstrating the different ways in which the SCQF has been used.

We have an Inclusive Recruiter programme for employers getting them to advertise using SCQF levels rather than named qualifications, thereby increasing their pool of potential applicants.

We have over 186 schools trained as Ambassadors ensuring that our young people, their teachers and their parents and carers understand the range of qualifications on offer in Scotland and to support schools in developing a much more diverse range of pathways.

We now have 56 organisations recognised as Credit Rating Bodies (CRBs) for the SCQF and have a highly respected and flexible quality assurance system to meet the differing types of CRB.

We have developed ourselves as a “centre of excellence” in relation to Recognition of Prior Learning and have provided advice and guidance on developing RPL policies and processes, using RPL to recognise skills separately from qualifications and benchmark these to a level providing guidance for learners on their options for next steps on their learning journey. This has supported individuals such as apprentices, veterans and migrants.

We have developed a wide range of workshops, responding to demand from stakeholders, both online and in person and these continue to be very well attended, demonstrating again that the SCQF is seen as central to education, training and skills in Scotland today.

So, 15 years of learning, 15 years on a journey and every one of them has been a privilege to be part of. I know that with the new CEO and the great team even more will be achieved over the next 15!

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