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Skills Development Scotland

SDS have a pivotal role in implementing 16+ Learning Choices at both operational and strategic levels. This falls within three areas of activity: as the national provider of IAG; as the national 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub; and in managing and delivering the National Training Programmes. The importance of effective and impartial IAG for all young people within the Senior Phase cannot be overstated. SDS should deliver consistent high quality IAG across all local authority areas, ensuring equity of service for every young person. This will involve face-to-face guidance - on a self-referral basis - to all young people who require support. SDS will also work collaboratively with schools, colleges and other relevant partners to proactively identify and provide targeted face-to-face guidance for young people who are at risk of moving into a negative destination. Additional help and support will be provided for particularly vulnerable young people (see Vulnerable Young People section). For these young people, SDS will ensure co-ordinated face-to-face support - ongoing and intensive as required - to help them achieve a sustained positive destination.

IAG around the post-16 transition stage will build on earlier careers education aimed at helping young people to understand themselves, their strengths and weaknesses and likes and dislikes; and to explore the world of work and possible career pathways. It will be based on individual needs, achievements and aspirations and will use current labour market information as a firm basis for ensuring informed post-16 learning choices. Where necessary, SDS will commission appropriate support from other partners to meet the needs of individual or groups of young people in order to maintain their engagement in learning and work. Whilst consistency across and within areas is essential, delivery of IAG should be sufficiently flexible to respond to educational and local economic development priorities and the related impacts for young people.

To support this process, SDS is a lead partner in the development of an e-Prospectus and common application process (CAP) which will provide comprehensive and accessible information on learning opportunities and help young people make more appropriate choices during the Senior Phase. Ongoing tracking of individual young people will be key to ensuring they get the support they need to take up and sustain their learning. As the 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub, it will be for SDS to articulate a wide range of information on individual young people and their learning choices - currently, through its client management information system - Insight; and in the future, through an enhanced technical solution. SDS will continue to carry out the SLDR annually in September and the follow-up survey in March; and to provide national and local analyses of the information gathered. On National Training Programmes, it is for SDS to ensure sufficient high quality places on Get Ready for Work, Skillseekers and Modern Apprenticeships; and to develop 'new' provision to address particular challenges in the labour market.

Responsibilities for SDS include:

Learning Provision
  • Reporting young people's intended destinations to the local authority, other partners and learning providers, by end October and end February for winter and summer leavers respectively;
  • Working with local partners across all sectors to ensure the supply of provision (in relation to type and level of learning) matches demand from young people throughout the year;
  • Working proactively with partners across the network of branded learning centres who commit, through the Pledge for Learners, to offer both formal and non-formal learning opportunities that widen choice and mode of delivery for post-16 learning choices;
  • Ensuring SDS-funded provision supports delivery of Curriculum for Excellence.
Support for Young People
  • Working proactively with other partners to identify any young person without an offer of learning, those to whom an offer has been made but not taken up, and those who have not sustained their learning choice. Offer intensive support to help individuals while the wider partnership identifies an appropriate offer and alternative support, if appropriate;
  • Joint action with schools on key dates (eg prelim results, SQA results days, UCAS acceptances) to confirm provisional offers, and to give additional support to those choosing an alternative route in light of their results;
  • Ensuring that young people who have an offer of post-16 learning outwith their home local authority area know how to engage with SDS should they subsequently need support;
  • Tracking young people with confirmed deferred offers of a place in higher education, to ensure that they have the support they need to engage in learning;
  • Tracking young people undertaking tailored provision for personal skills development and those on short courses to ensure further progression;
  • Support young people to investigate and access opportunities presented through n-LOD (and the subsequent e-Prospectus) and other resources;
  • Tracking and reporting on the outcomes of young people within the Senior Phase who have taken up an offer of a post-16 learning;
  • Engage with young people who have dropped out of or completed a college course whilst within the Senior Phase, to re-engage them in learning;
  • Working with Jobcentre Plus to help young people into employment and to ensure a continuum of support for young people applying for benefits, with ongoing tracking and recording of individuals curriculum for excellence.
Data Management
  • Recording on Insight/the 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub offers made - within 5 working days of being informed by a learning provider;
  • Working with schools and other providers to track and monitor individuals through the Senior Phase, recording agreed information on Insight/the 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub in a timely manner. (Local partners will require to monitor the young people with whom they are working; and to pass data to SDS using agreed systems.);
  • Ensuring all eligible young people (along with their current contact details) are recorded on Insight/the 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub;
  • Establishing and recording intended destinations on Insight/the 16+ Learning Choices Data Hub, with support from the authority, schools and other learning providers;
  • Reviewing/renewing - at agreed intervals - DAAs with LAs and other partners; ensuring staff understand the scope of the Agreements;
  • Establishing Service Delivery Agreements with LAs and other agreements with specific learning establishments in respect of young people in residential schools or other learning establishments outwith the authority area;
  • Joint working with Jobcentre Plus to provide data to local partnerships on 16-18 year olds who are engaging with both organisations to inform service delivery;
  • Undertaking the SLDR and related follow-up, and providing detailed analyses in line with Agreements;
  • Articulating and sharing agreed data internally and with other partners, including the ScottishGovernment to support monitoring, evaluation and improvements in service delivery.

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