Vocational Pathways

Vocational Pathways (Skills4Work) content

Vocational Pathways (Skills4Work)

The Vocational Pathways (Skills4Work) programme offers young people in Shetland the opportunity to undertake college-based vocational training during their 3rd and 4th years at school.

The courses are intended to help you become familiar with the world of work, and provide a variety of practical experiences linked to particular careers. They will also help you to develop general knowledge and skills that are important for employment and for life in general, including:

  • an understanding of the workplace, including your own responsibilities such as timekeeping, appearance and customer care;
  • evaluating your own progress, strengths and weaknesses;
  • analysing and solving problems; and
  • adaptability and a positive attitude.

Our Vocational Pathways courses are a great opportunity for young people to become familiar with the world of work and experience college life while they are still at school.

Courses content


Further details on courses and an application form are available in the Vocational Pathways booklet.

General Information

Pupils normally start Vocational Pathways courses in their S3 year, with a view to continuing the course into S4, where applicable. Most courses run every other Friday, and may last for 1 or 2 years.

Successful completion of the course will lead to a National Progression Award. The number of places on each course is limited.

The Aquaculture, Engineering and Maritime Skills courses are delivered at the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway. Free bus passes will be provided but you will be responsible for making your own way to and from the college.


To apply for a Vocational Pathway course you must complete the application form included in the Vocational Pathways booklet and return it to your Pupil Support Teacher.

You may be asked to attend an interview before an offer of a place on a course is made, and you may not get a place on the course of your choice if there are more applications than there are places available.

Aquaculture content



This course is relevant to anyone with an interest in aquaculture, fisheries or marine biology.

The course is designed to provide a range of practical skills and a basic knowledge of finfish and shellfish farming and associated industries. The course runs over 2 years and includes classwork, hands-on experience and field trips.

Topics covered include:

Introduction to Aquaculture and the Environment

Northern European Aquaculture

Introduction to Finfish Farming

  • Finfish rearing systems
  • Cage production
  • Fish anatomy, health & welfare
  • Feeding
  • Environmental monitoring
  • Fish handling, grading and harvesting

Introduction to Sea Fisheries

  • Net mending
  • Rope work

Introduction to Shellfish Production

  • Anatomy
  • Biology
  • Spat collection

Successful completion of the course will lead to a National Progression Award which is SQA accredited at SCQF Level 4.

Engineering Skills content

Engineering Skills

Engineering Skills

This course is relevant to anyone interested in a career in engineering.

It is designed to provide a range of practical skills and a basic knowledge of engineering activities which will prepare you for work in a range of engineering industries.

The course is run over 2 years and is very practical, with most of the time being spent in our engineering, welding, fabrication or electrical workshops.

Topics covered include:

Engineering Skills: Mechanical

  • Basic engineering fitting skills
  • Measuring
  • Marking Out
  • Cutting
  • Shaping
  • Drilling
  • Tapping

Engineering Skills: Electrical & Electronic

  • Components
  • Circuit construction

Engineering Skills: Fabrication

  • Cutting
  • Forming
  • Mechanical joining
  • MiG welding

Engineering Skills: Manufacture & Assembly

  • Using the skills gained to make an put together an engineering artefact.

Successful completion of the course will lead to a Skills for Work - Engineering Skills award which is SQA accredited at SCQF Level 4.

You may then be able to progress to a Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering (S5/S6), which can lead to a Modern Apprenticeship or National Certificate (NC) in Engineering Practice or a Merchant Navy Engineering Officer Cadetship.

Maritime Skills content

Maritime Skills

Maritime Skills

This course is relevant to anyone considering a career in the marine industries, including fish catching.

It is designed to raise awareness of the diversity and range of employment opportunities available in the maritime sector and will provide a range of relevant practical skills.

The course is run over 2 years and includes:

Seamanship: An Introduction

  • Introduces basic boat-handling skills and develops awareness of safety requirements.
  • Includes anchoring, mooring and securing a boat and the use of ropes, wires and chains.

Health & Safety in the Maritime Sector

  • Involves carrying out a risk assessment and practising boat evacuation.
  • Basic firefighting & first aid.

Maritime Environment

  • Weather and its effects on maritime activities.
  • Basic navigation & chartwork.

Small Boat Engineering

  • Introduces basic engineering of small boats.
  • Propulsion and steering methods and types of engines.
  • Routine care and maintenance of an engine and auxiliaries.

Employability Skills and careers in the Maritime Sector

  • Explores the range of industries, services and career opportunities available.

Successful completion of the course will lead to a Skills for Work - Maritime Skills award which is SQA accredited at SCQF Level 5.

You may be able to progress to employment in the fishing industry or to a Merchant Navy Deck Officer Cadetship.

Other Courses content

Other Courses

Other Courses

A range of other Vocational Pathways courses are available in Shetland, including:

  • Construction Crafts
  • Contemporary Art Skills
  • Early Education & Child Care
  • Hairdressing
  • Hospitality
  • Sound Engineering
  • Video Production
  • Sports Leadership