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New Professional Baccalaureate qualification to boost employment skills.
Plans for a new qualification to better prepare young people for work and boost youth employment have been announced by Education Secretary Angela Constance.
The Professional Baccalaureate will recognise high-quality work- based learning, building on new work placement awards and Foundation Apprenticeships.
It is part of the Scottish Government's Developing the Young Workforce programme, which aims to give young people more opportunities to gain employment experience while still at school.
The qualification will be available for learners at different SCQF levels, recognising the range of technical, professional and core skills they can use in the workplace with a focus on key employment sectors including skills in engineering and technology.
The new award will be developed in partnership with employers, professional bodies and the education community. It complements the current Scottish Baccalaureate which will continue in its current form.
Speaking at a Holyrood conference on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, Ms Constance said:
"As well as achieving record numbers of Higher passes, more young people are being awarded qualifications that recognise the skills they need for life and work.
"We have been working with schools, colleges and employers to develop our young workforce, exceeding our targets to deliver over 25,000 Modern Apprenticeships a year with more students staying on at school until 6th year .
"This action has seen a higher proportion of young people in employment, education or training after leaving school than ever before. But we want and need to do more to meet our target of reducing youth unemployment by 40 per cent by 2021.
"This new qualification will offer clear programmes of learning, relevant for the world of work and key employment sectors. It will be open to all of our young people to help them develop the professional skills they need to succeed in the workplace, and achieve all they possibly can."
Janet Brown, Chief Executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority, said:
"SQA is committed to the Developing the Young Workforce agenda and looks forward to engaging with employers and the education community in developing the concept of the professional baccalaureate, ensuring that it meets the needs of the economy and young people alike."
The Professional Baccalaureate will be available at a range of Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels and will include a core requirement around employer engagement and high quality work experience. It will be subject to extensive engagement with employers, professional bodies and the education community, including young people.