You are here » Home Page > Blog > December

Minerva Blog

New Modern Apprenticeship Brand Marque

Introducing the new Modern Apprenticeship brand marque being used by Skills Development Scotland. Minerva People Ltd are proud to continue to deliver Modern Apprenticeships. We have been delivering apprenticeship programmes since 1999.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is the national skills body supporting the people and businesses of Scotland to develop and apply their skills.

SDS pays a contribution towards the cost of training and assessing Modern Apprentices on behalf of the Scottish Government.

MA Logo

Posted by Tracy on Tuesday, March 31st, 2015.

Press Release from SCQF



On Thursday 19 February 2015, 221 participants from 115 organisations from 19 countries gathered in a Glasgow hotel for SCQF: An Unexpected Journey; a conference which aimed to explore the past, present and future of the SCQF and to celebrate the journey the Framework has taken since its inception in 2001.

 Pictured- SCQF Aileen Ponton with Alasdair Allan MSP


The conference, hosted by the SCQF Partnership chair, Sir Andrew Cubie CBE, FRSE, brought together a wide range of SCQF stakeholders from sectors as diverse as schools, colleges, universities, Credit Rating Bodies, employers, local authorities, Community Learning and Development, international framework owners and, very importantly, learners, for whom the SCQF was originally envisioned.


The conference showcased the breadth and flexibility of the SCQF and featured a variety of inspirational speakers such as Professor Pamela Gillies CBE, FRSA (Principal and Chief Executive of Glasgow Caledonian University), Ross Martin (CEO of SCDI) and Louise Macdonald OBE (CEO of Young Scot), with Alasdair Allan MSP providing the keynote address. During his speech, Dr. Allan acknowledged the importance of the SCQF to Scottish Government policy saying, “The work that the SCQF Partnership does underpins what Scottish Government is doing with education.”


One of the highlights of the day was the premiere of a celebratory film featuring some of the milestones of the SCQF from 2001 to the present day which was produced by a group of very talented former and present students of Glasgow Clyde College. In only three and a half minutes, the film managed to articulate the unexpected journey undertaken by the pioneering qualifications framework in the past 14 years: from its humble beginnings as a mere concept to help learners progress; to the numerous publications, tools and resources now available to assist employers, learners and education providers; to the vast amount of international interest the SCQF has garnered from all corners of the globe, from Hong Kong to Poland, Bahrain to Estonia; to the 700+ learning programmes over and above mainstream offerings which are now  recognised on the SCQF.


Delegates also had the opportunity to participate in two workshops at the event with contributions from facilitators such as Abertay University, School Leaders Scotland, Ayrshire College, Minerva People Ltd/Route to Employment, SQA and Police Scotland College.


The event was sponsored by valued SCQF stakeholder organisations: British Council, City & Guilds, College Development Network, The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), NHS Education for Scotland, the Scottish College for Educational Leadership (SCEL), SQA, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and YouthLink Scotland.


Speaker and workshop presentations and the film are all available to view and download from our website at


ENDS – Issued by the SCQF Partnership February 2015

Picture caption: Aileen Ponton, CEO of the SCQF Partnership, welcomes Alasdair Allan MSP to the conference


Notes to editor:

Background to the SCQF and SCQF Partnership


The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) supports individual learners and exists to sustain a vibrant lifelong learning culture in Scotland. It is our aim to include, where appropriate, all qualifications and assessed learning in Scotland into the SCQF so that learners can identify their current position in relation to the Framework and can plan their future learning pathways.


In November 2006 the SCQF Partnership Board was set up to manage the Framework. Our Directors are from:


  • College Development Network;
  • the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education;
  • the Scottish Qualifications Authority; and
  • Universities Scotland.

The SCQF Partnership Board is chaired by Sir Andrew Cubie CBE and in addition to the Directors we also have a co-opted member bringing an employer perspective and Scottish Ministers with observer status.

The SCQF Partnership’s aims are to:


  • maintain the quality and integrity of the Framework;
  • promote and develop the Framework as a way of supporting lifelong learning; and
  • develop and maintain relationships with frameworks in the rest of the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.


The SCQF is in the custody of, and managed by, the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework Partnership (SCQF Partnership). The Partnership is a company limited by guarantee and is a Scottish registered charity SCO37958.


The Framework supports all of Scotland’s citizens, learning providers and employers by:

  • helping people of all ages and circumstances to access appropriate education and training over their lifetime, so as to fulfil their personal, social and economic potential;
  • enabling employers, learners and the public in general to understand:
    • the full range of Scottish qualifications;
    • how qualifications relate to each other and to other forms of assessed learning;
    • how different types of qualification can contribute to improving the development, and utilisation, of the skills of the workforce;
    • how Scottish qualifications relate to qualifications in other countries;
    • how using level descriptors can assist with qualifications development and benchmarking skills and experience in all sectors.
    • providing a Framework which can support the aims of fair work and social justice by ensuring that it provides tools and resources which can recognise prior learning, support progression and improve social inclusion.

Posted by Tracy on Thursday, February 26th, 2015.


Joan McAlpine MSP has praised local company Minerva for its work delivering Modern Apprenticeships across the region.

Ms McAlpine met Modern Apprentices and their assessors along with Directors Tricia and Andrew Hunter last Friday. She said: “The Modern Apprentices I met were all learning while in work in fields like childcare and administration. “Minerva work hard at finding employers to take on an Apprentice and matching them with a young person. “It’s important that young people know there are alternatives to college and university, and it’s really encouraging that more than 2,500 modern apprenticeship starts have been introduced in Dumfries and Galloway in the past three years. “There are of course barriers in rural communities which need to be addressed and we need to keep developing Modern Apprenticeship programmes to take account of that. “For example, as Tricia explained to me, many micro Businesses cannot afford a full time Modern Apprentice, so exploring schemes where a young person can complete their Apprenticeship with two employers – giving them full time work – is definitely something we should look at.”

Pictured in the first photo left to right are: • Lois Wright – Business and Administration Level 2 Modern Apprentice with G M Thomson, Surveyors in Dumfries • Eryn Williamson – Management Level 3 Modern Apprentice from Dumfries and Galloway Council Graduate Programme • Emma McKinnon – Childcare Level 3 Modern Apprentice from Kids Ahoy Nursery, Dumfries • Joan McAlpine MSP • Rhys Dear – Childcare Level 3 Modern Apprentice from Malory Day Nursery, Dumfries • Amy Anderson – Admin Level 2 Modern Apprentice with Minerva People Limited, Training and Recruitment Dumfries and she completed her level 2 on the day Joan visited and now progressing on to Level 3.

The second photo is Joan with some of the Staff from Minerva People and they are left to right – Tricia Hunter MD, Tracey McEwan Childcare Co-ordinator, Sharee Rennie Management Co-ordinator, Joan McAlpine, Andrew Hunter Director, Michaela Bitsanis Administration Assessor, Marion McFadzean Hospitality Assessor, Susan Deeney Recruitment/Workplace Co-ordinator and Amy Anderson Modern Apprentice.

Posted by Tracy on Tuesday, January 20th, 2015.

We’re delighted to announce all Pitman Training will be CPD Standards Approved!

What are the benefits of CPD?

The benefits of CPD can be seen from two perspectives – that of the employee and that of the employer.
For employees, CPD helps them keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date. It also ensures that the professional standard their qualifications and registrations are maintained. Furthermore, it contributes to their professional sense of direction. Completing CPD helps build their confidence and credibility, allows them to showcase their achievements and equips them with tools to cope positively with change.
CPD is beneficial for employees’ career progression and advancement. Our CPD research project confirmed that anyone hoping to get promoted, or wanting to specialise in a different area, demonstrating their learning agility and dedication to CPD can make a substantive difference. In real terms, this means that CPD contributes to achieving higher salaries.

For employers, the primary benefit of CPD is ensuring that standards across the company are high and consistent. CPD also promotes greater work engagement from the workforce and general commitment to job roles. Having a number of employees undertake CPD, whether concurrently or over a period of time, allows for the sharing of best practice and support. CPD also contributes to maximising staff potential, improves staff moral and provides a useful benchmark for annual appraisals.

For more on CPD Standards visit or visit for details of our full course and diploma range.


Posted by James on Thursday, December 18th, 2014.

Children in Need

Look who our Childcare Coordinator Tracey bumped into today whilst visiting a nursery!

To change the life of a child or young person in your life click here-

Posted by James on Monday, November 3rd, 2014.

Learn more about our Modern Apprenticeships

One of our assessors, Michaela out and about today visiting candidates decided to stop and say hello to Wickerman.

 Don’t forget, if you are interested in becoming an MA or are a business looking to take on an apprentice, please see details below and contact us to learn more.

Our Modern Apprenticeship Programme is a government funded scheme which allows companies to offer training and development to their current employees or gain a new employee who can be trained and developed. Individuals must be aged between 16 and 24 and capable of achieving a vocational qualification (VQ). Funding for 16 to 19 year olds is available for all of our vocational qualifications, while for 20 to 24 year olds the range of subjects and courses is a little more restricted.

The vocational qualifications gained are SVQs (Scottish Vocational Qualifications) which are highly regarded by employers in Dumfries & Galloway as they demonstrate that an individual has the job related skills to perform in the workplace.

We currently offer the following qualifications to Modern Apprentices:

SVQ Level 5 Management
SVQ Level 4 Management
SVQ Level 3 Management

SVQ Level 3 Business and Administration
SVQ Level 2 Business and Administration

SVQ Level 4 Children’s Care Learning and Development
SVQ Level 3 Children’s Care Learning and Development

SVQ Level 2 Customer Service
SVQ Level 3 Customer Service

SVQ Level 2 Food and Beverage Service
SVQ Level 2 Food Service
SVQ Level 2 Beverage Service
SVQ Level 2 Hospitality Services
SVQ Level 2 Front of House Reception
SVQ Level 2 Housekeeping
SVQ Level 3 Hospitality Supervision and Leadership

Posted by James on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014.

Don’t make these mistakes on your CV

We are delighted to share this article from Google’s senior VP originally posted on

Laszlo Bock, Google’s senior vice president of people operations, estimates that he’s personally reviewed more than 20,000 resumes over the course of his career.

First of all, we’re sorry for him.

But secondly, we’re pretty sure he knows a thing or two about what makes a resume shine and—perhaps more importantly—get tossed in the trash.

In fact, he shared his insights earlier this week in a LinkedIn Influencer post. Here’s what he had to say about the five biggest mistakes he sees candidates making, plus our expert tips for making sure your resume doesn’t include any of these blunders.

Mistake #1: Typos

We know—you’ve heard it. But while “this one seems obvious,” Bock writes, “…it happens again and again. A 2013 CareerBuilder survey found that 58% of resumes have typos.”

The Fix

Have someone else read your resume—often, other people can more easily spot errors because they haven’t been staring at the page for hours. If that’s really not possible, use Muse editor-in-chief Adrian Granzella Larssen’s tips for proofreading your own resume: “It’s helpful to temporarily change the font, or to read your resume from the bottom up—your eyes get used to reading a page one way and can often catch new errors when you mix the format up.”

Finally, once you’ve reviewed it, stop making those final tiny changes. “People who tweak their resumes the most carefully can be especially vulnerable to this kind of error,” explains Bock, “because they often result from going back again and again to fine tune your resume just one last time. And in doing so, a subject and verb suddenly don’t match up, or a period is left in the wrong place, or a set of dates gets knocked out of alignment.”


Mistake #2: Length

Thinking about letting your resume creep onto the next page? Think again. “A good rule of thumb is one page of resume for every 10 years of work experience,” says Bock. “A crisp, focused resume demonstrates an ability to synthesize, prioritize, and convey the most important information about you.”

The Fix

For most of us, Bock’s rule of thumb means one page—two, tops. If you’re having trouble squeezing all of your experience onto one page, remember that a resume doesn’t have to (in fact, shouldn’t) be a chronicle of your entire career history—it should be a marketing document that uses your relevant skills and experiences to illustrate to the hiring manager why you’re the one for the job. To hone in on what really matters and cut the fluff accordingly, try Liz Elfman’s tips for getting everything on one page.


Mistake #3: “Creative” Formatting

When it comes to resumes, Bock says, substance definitely matters more than style. He’d definitely prefer to see a simple, traditional, perfectly formatted resume than something creative that’s tough to read. “Unless you’re applying for a job such as a designer or artist, your focus should be on making your resume clean and legible,” he writes.

The Fix

When in doubt, go simple and spend most of your time sharpening your bullet points rather than making them look great. Then, make sure the formatting looks great no matter what program it’s opened in. As Bock recommends, “If you can, look at it in both Google Docs and Word, and then attach it to an email and open it as a preview.” Saving your resume as a PDF rather than a .doc file should help alleviate any formatting problems in different programs.


Mistake #4: Confidential Information

In his post, Bock shares a story of candidate who worked for a top consulting firm with a strict confidentiality policy. So, when the candidate wrote on his resume that he “consulted to a major software company in Redmond, Washington”—a.k.a. Microsoft—he was immediately rejected. Sure, the candidate didn’t break the policy, per se—but he definitely didn’t inspire trust in his potential employer.

The Fix

For anything you put on your resume (or say in an interview, or publish on a blog, you get the picture, follow the New York Times test, says Bock: “if you wouldn’t want to see it on the home page of the NYT with your name attached (or if your boss wouldn’t!), don’t put it on your resume.”


Mistake #5: Lies

As Bock explains: “People lie about their degrees (three credits shy of a college degree is not a degree), GPAs (I’ve seen hundreds of people “accidentally” round their GPAs up)… and where they went to school (sorry, but employers don’t view a degree granted online for “life experience” as the same as UCLA or Seton Hall). People lie about how long they were at companies, how big their teams were, and their sales results, always goofing in their favour.”

And we probably don’t have to tell you what hiring managers think about that.

The Fix

Just remember what your mama told you: Honesty is always the best policy. If you feel like there’s part of your background that’s not quite up to snuff, your best bet is creative—but truthful—positioning.

These mistakes seem pretty basic, but if Google sees them all the time? You can bet every other employer does, too. The good news is, they’re all totally avoidable. Make sure your (one- to two-page) resume is squeaky clean, and you’re already ahead of the game.

Posted by Tracy on Thursday, September 25th, 2014.

First ScotRail Results in Rail Passenger Survey

First ScotRail Survey

We are delighted to share with you this article from Railway News regarding First ScotRail’s latest performance survey.

First ScotRail Results in Rail Passenger SurveyImage courtesy of First Group

The 90% rating equals First ScotRail’s highest ever rating in this key category.  Improving performance figures and better timetables have been key drivers in ScotRail achieving this rating, a significant eight percentage points ahead of UK train operators.

The independent National Rail Passenger Survey also revealed that ScotRail had improved in 26 categories year on year.

Thirteen factors have achieved their highest ever score, reinforcing ScotRail’s commitment to continually improve its customers’ overall experience of rail travel.

The key measure of value for money – at 56% – is now almost 25% higher than the score for rail operators nationally, reflecting the positive impact of the Scottish Government-led freeze on off-peak fares, targeted promotional activity, the removal of scores of fare anomalies and the roll-out of added value services such as wifi.

The score for the attitude and helpfulness of staff rose once more, demonstrating that ScotRail’s investment in dedicated ‘World Host’ customer service training is making a positive impression staff and passengers. On-train scores in this category rose to 85% – up 9 points – which compares strongly with the national average of 64%.

Incremental improvements were also achieved for car parking, on-train toilets, and personal security, all of which have been focus areas in the past.

Managing director Steve Montgomery said he was very pleased that customers were recognising ScotRail’s efforts and pledged that the operator will continue to seek out improvements.

“We have improved in the vast majority of areas, some significantly , so our focus now is on maintaining these, while re-doubling our efforts where our scores are lower.  Our ambition is to see improvements across every category.”

– See more at:

Posted by Tracy on Tuesday, August 19th, 2014.

Childcare Employability Programme

Are you between the ages of 18-24 years old and looking to start a career in Childcare?

We will help you move your career to the next step through our employability programme.

Contact us today to learn more!

Posted by Tracy on Thursday, July 10th, 2014.


Over the last few months frontline rail workers in Scotland have participated in the ‘Games Ready’ WorldHost customer service programme, which has been specially tailored to prepare them to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors who will flock to Glasgow and Gleneagles in July and September respectively. In total, more than 3,000 First ScotRail staff have benefited from the specialist customer service training ahead of the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup this summer.


WorldHost programmes provide a gold standard in training for any business that relies on day-to-day interaction with customers and were successfully used to train 100,00 volunteers and staff at the London 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics. As WorldHost is on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF), it provides an additional benefit for both employers and employees: once a qualification has an SCQF level and credit points it attracts national and international recognition for the learners who achieve it. WorldHost was credit rated by City of Glasgow College at SCQF level 5 with between 2-8 credit points, depending on the programme being undertaken. Each SCQF credit point represents 10 hours of learning.


The six-figure contract to deliver the course to ScotRail staff was won by Dumfries-based training provider, Minerva People, in partnership with the People 1st Training Company, which holds the UK licence for the WorldHost training programmes.


ScotRail is now Scotland’s first public transport company to achieve WorldHost Recognised Business status – a nationally-recognised benchmark of customer service excellence. To highlight all of the hard work going on behind the scenes, ScotRail has also used its own staff for its Commonwealth Games advertising campaign.


Tricia Hunter, managing director of Minerva People said: “We all cannot believe how quickly the time has passed and that we have successfully delivered the customised ‘Games Ready’ WorldHost training programme on time and with so much pleasure. We have worked with the same 12 WorldHost licensed trainers to deliver the programme throughout the duration of the contract. The passion, commitment and enthusiasm of everyone – all First ScotRail staff, Minerva trainers and those involved from People 1st – has been quite amazing to witness as this highly interactive and participative programme ensured engagement from beginning to end. We now wish all First ScotRail staff great success in delivering their outstanding customer service during the exceptionally busy period of the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and the many other major events going on throughout Scotland over the remainder of 2014. We are all so proud to have played our part and congratulate ScotRail on their achievements.”


Sharon Glancy, managing director of the People 1st Training Company, said: “It’s brilliant to see an iconic Scottish name like ScotRail putting such an emphasis on its customer service, and we’re thrilled that they chose WorldHost to help them get ‘Games Ready. We’ve already seen how the fantastic welcome staff and volunteers gave at the London 2012 Games played a huge role in boosting the nation’s reputation as a tourist destination, and Glasgow 2014 presents a fantastic opportunity for Scotland to build a similar legacy. Training over 3,000 people in just a few months is no mean feat, so I’d like to congratulate Minerva People on their great partnership approach – also congratulations to ScotRail on becoming Scotland’s first WorldHost Recognised Business in the transport industry!” 


Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said: “Our people are often the first point of contact for people visiting Scottish destinations, and the welcome they offer can have a major impact on the tourism experience as a whole. With the spotlight well and truly on Scotland this summer, we want to showcase our business, and the nation, in the best possible way.”


For more detail on the SCQF and the benefits of having your learning programmes credit rated, visit


ENDS – Issued by SCQF Partnership – July 2014

Pic  – Representatives from Minerva People, People 1St Training Company and First ScotRail pictured in Glasgow Central station alongside the trainers who delivered the WorldHost programme


Posted by Tracy on Thursday, July 10th, 2014.