SQA Champion and Pride o' Worth

12th October 2007 at 01:00
Bruce Milne

Chief Superintendent Bruce Milne (above) has been at the heart of developing standards of professionalism and accreditation in the Scottish Police Service for the past five years.

He joined the Scottish Police College from Fife Constabulary as head of the learning support division, now training and education standards, in 2002.

The college, at Tulliallan in Kincardineshire, is the only central police training establishment in Scotland and provides core and specialist training for 14,500 police officers and staff from the Scottish Police forces and agencies.

When Chief Superintendent Milne joined, very little of the training provided was formally accredited. During his first year, he saw the need for a more consistent approach to staff development and accreditation and saw the Scottish Qualifications Authority as a key player.

"The first important issue established by the service was that the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework was flexible, as it recognised both academic and vocational qualifications. More importantly, it meant the service could select whichever pathway offered the best fit for its requirements," he says.

The first SQA qualification he initiated was the Professional Development Award in call handling. This was created as a response to the need for qualified staff in the increasing number of police call centres across the country.

One of his largest and, indeed, historical undertakings was the diploma in police service leadership and management.

"This qualification, which was two years in the making, is an SCQF level 8 PDA and was designed to replace the Scottish Police promotion examinations which had been in place for the last 100 years," says Inspector Peter Blair of Strathclyde Police, who nominated Chief Superintendent Milne for the SQA Champion Award.

"The qualification is made up of nine units, eight of which were newly created, and it fundamentally changes the relationship between the Scottish Police Service and qualifications.

"For the first time, a qualification is a determining factor in a police officer's career. This is unique in the UK," he says.

Chief Superintendent Milne also introduced a new HNC management for support staff and three further PDAs in community safety, road policing, and crime and intelligence analysis, as well as entering into partnership with the SQA and a number of Scottish higher education institutes to promote police-relevant qualifications overseas.

"Bruce's imaginative use of SQA qualifications and the SCQF has brought new levels of opportunity to the police service, where formal recognition of learning through qualifications is now expected," says Inspector Peter Blair.

"His vision and drive have transformed the view of the organisation towards qualifications and his work has been recognised as best practice in police training, at home and abroad.

"His legacy will be a framework of qualifications that offers a wealth of opportunities for lifelong learning for all staff."

But the work is not yet over. The next step for Chief Superintendent Milne and his colleagues is to gain credit rating status for the Scottish Police College as a training organisation, to be recognised under the SCQF banner.

SQA Star Award for Lifelong Learning (Candidate)

Louise McDonnell

South Clydeside Assessment


Louise McDonnell joined Renfrewshire Council in 1994 as a home care worker, taking an SVQ level 2 in care in 2002. It had been many years since she had undertaken learning and the SVQ gave her the confidence to continue with her studies and gain a senior home care worker post. She then undertook an HNC in care, and inspired and supported her staff to complete their SVQs.

She is now a home care super-visor and, although she was assessed as having dyslexia, she has now completed a level 4 SVQ.

SQA Star Award for Candidate of the Year (College)

Trevor Topping

Dumfries and Galloway College

After working in his local supermarket for 18 years, Trevor Topping entered college to study introduction to care (Intermediate 1), because he wanted to give something back to his community. With "outstanding" commitment, he achieved four extra units and has gone from never having used a computer to helping students and tutors alike.

His enthusiasm, humour and compassion (working with students with additional support needs and volunteering in a local nursing home) are described as "an inspiration" to students and staff.

SQA Star Award for Candidate of the Year (Training Organisation)

Elizabeth Short

MI Technologies

After being out of the labour market for many years and facing difficult personal circumstances, Betty Short began work as a kitchen assistant at Cleveden Nursing Home, where she made a huge impact on staff and residents, involving herself in activities far beyond her job description. She took an SVQ food preparation and cooking, level 2, then level 3, and now has the position of chef.

Ms Short is now an important, decision-making member of the care home team.

"It's a once in a lifetime award which has me brimming with confidence," she says.

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