Skills and Training

30 May 2012

The Scotch Whisky industry relies on the world class capabilities of its people from procurement, production, logistics to sales, marketing and innovation.

SWA members are committed to growing the capabilities of their staff through skills development and training provision. 

Attracting new talent and ensuring the workforce remains competent is critical to maintaining sustainable growth in a long-term industry like Scotch Whisky.  The Association is not a training provider but the SWA Operational and Technical Affairs team works closely with the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and other relevant organisations to align the industry's training needs with course and syllabus provision. 

The SWA also acts as a focal point for industry liaison with external stakeholders such as IMPROVE (the UK Sector Skills Council for Food and Drink) and the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group on Skills.

The Scotch Whisky industry is proud of the training it provides its employees. The Association regularly surveys members on training provision and skills issues.  In 2011, 100% of SWA member companies which responded to the survey offered training to their employees. This compares to just under two thirds of all Scottish employers in 2010. Scotch Whisky is a highly skilled industry with a strong commitment to training.

Read more about the people behind our world-famous brands.

Spirits Industry Vocational Qualification

The Spirits Industry Vocational Qualification (SIVQ) is a competence-based qualification developed and endorsed by the SWA. It has been driven by the spirits industry and is tailored to meet its specific needs. It can be used to assess the skills and knowledge people need to perform their job roles effectively.

On completion of a minimum of eight units candidates achieve the SIVQ, awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). Work has recently been completed to credit rate and level the SIVQ on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework. This adds weight and national recognition to the qualification. 

Spirits Skills Programme

'Soft' or 'employability' skills are increasingly important to modern employers wanting to remain competitive in a global economy. 

The SWA has developed, in collaboration with a training provider, a 'soft skills' training course for industry operators and team leaders. The Spirits Skills course has been developed to meet the specific needs of the Scotch Whisky industry and offers an interactive work-based approach to learning. 

This course has evolved from a successful pilot, developed in partnership with the GMB Union and several companies from the Scotch Whisky industry.  The course is available to all Scotch Whisky companies and covers training in the areas of leadership, communication and business awareness skills.