§ Mr. Gorrie
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will request the Scottish Qualifications Authority to consider certificating pre-employment courses. 
§ Mr. Wilson
All existing SQA courses and awards, to varying degrees, prepare people for employment. Academic qualifications such as Standard Grades, Highers and CSYS provide a foundation of knowledge in preparation for later life. Work-related qualifications such as National Certificate, HNC and HND combine knowledge and practical experience in a wide range of subject areas to prepare for employment. Work-based Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), which are assessed in workplace conditions and recognise that individuals are competent for specific occupations, can in certain situations also be taken in preparation for employment.
Broadly-based General SVQs were introduced in Scotland in 1991 specifically to assist people acquire the skills and knowledge required for employment, incorporating core skills in communication, numeracy, information technology, personal and interpersonal skills, and problem solving. The GSVQ concept, to be known as Scottish Group Awards, is being incorporated in the new Higher Still structure which, in 1999–2000, will reform the existing Highers, CSYS and National Certificate.