RATIONALE FOR SKILLS FOR WORK COURSES
1. Skills for work courses are designed to help candidates to develop:
- skills and knowledge in a broad vocational area;
- core skills;
- an understanding of the workplace;
- positive attitudes to learning; and
- skills and attitudes for employability.
2. A key feature of these courses is the emphasis on experiential learning. This means learning through practical experience and learning by reflecting on experience.
Learning through practical experience
3. Teaching/learning programmes will include some or all of the following:
- learning in real or simulated workplace settings;
- learning through role play activities in vocational contexts;
- carrying out case study work; and
- planning and carrying out practical tasks and assignments.
Learning through reflecting at all stages of the experience
4. Teaching/learning programmes will include some or all of the following:
- preparing and planning for the experience;
- taking stock throughout the experience - reviewing and adapting as necessary; and
- reflecting after the activity has been completed - evaluating, self-assessing and identifying learning points.
5. The Skills for work courses are also designed to provide candidates with opportunities for developing core skills and enhancing skills and attitudes for employability.
6. The five core skills are:
- Information Technology;
- Problem Solving; and
- Working with Others.
7. The skills and attitudes for employability, including self-employment, are outlined below:
generic skills/attitudes valued by employers
- understanding of the workplace and the employee's responsibilities, for example time-keeping, appearance, customer care;
- self-evaluation skills;
- positive attitude to learning;
- flexible approaches to solving problems;
- adaptability and positive attitude to change; and
- confidence to set goals, reflect and learn from experience.
specific vocational skills/knowledge
- Course specifications highlight the links to National Occupational Standards in the vocational area and identify progression opportunities.
8. Opportunities for developing these skills and attitudes are highlighted in each of the course and unit specifications. These opportunities include giving pupils direct access to workplace experiences or, through partnership arrangements, providing different learning environments and experiences which simulate aspects of the workplace. These experiences might include visits, visiting speakers, role play and other practical activities.
9. A Curriculum for Excellence identifies aspirations for every young person. These are that they should become:
- successful learners;
- confident individuals;
- responsible citizens; and
- effective contributors.
10. The learning environments, the focus on experiential learning and the opportunities to develop employability and core skills in these courses contribute to meeting these aspirations.