Arts activity programme gives Barrhead parents employability boost

An arts programme has given Barrhead parents the opportunity to develop their creative and employability skills and earn a SQA qualification

18 April 2024 - SQA - Categories: General

Features and developments

An arts programme in Barrhead has given local parents the opportunity to develop and demonstrate their creative flair and increase their employability skills while earning a valuable SQA qualification.

Impact Arts, a charity that specialises in using creative activities to engage with members of the community, has delivered its eight-week Impactful Parents programme to adult learners in Barrhead. Commissioned by Barrhead Housing Association, the programme uses art and creative writing to develop participants’ skills. At the end of the course, participants achieved a SQA Award in Communication at level 3 of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

Participants in the programme worked with an art tutor at twice weekly sessions in St Andrew’s Church, where they explored using different media and techniques to create artwork, sculpture, creative writing, and poetry. The finished pieces were then exhibited at a celebratory showcase at the church.

Maggie Lilly, Opportunities Coordinator at Impact Arts, described the programme as having a real benefit for the participants, helping them build their confidence ahead of seeking employment opportunities or continuing their education at college.

Maggie said: ‘For a number of our participants, English isn’t their first language, so we spend a lot of time working with them to identify their ambitions; some are looking to apply for jobs, others want to be able to help their kids with their school work, others just want to be more confident talking with their friends and neighbours.’

Maggie adds: ‘The opportunity to achieve a SQA award in Communication is a big draw for our participants. For many of them, it’s their first qualification that they’ve earned, so it’s a massive achievement. Many of the participants come to us with low confidence, not believing that they are capable of achieving a qualification, but over the time we spend together we can see them flourish; building new skills and fostering friendships. We’re also here to help them with the next stage, helping them write their CV, and submit job applications and prepare for interviews.’

One of the participants Romana said: ‘I have enjoyed being part of the group, learning new skills and meeting new people. I feel more confident in myself, and I would recommend that anyone who wants to improve their communication skills give a course like this a try.’

Aisha, another participant added: ‘Now the course is finished, I’m looking to apply for part-time work. I’ve really enjoyed learning new skills; working on paintings, and poems. I’m looking forward to continuing my learning.’

Gillian Lindsay, Business Development Consultant at SQA said: ‘Impact Arts offers a vital first step back into learning. By providing a relaxed, friendly environment within the community, Impact Arts participants find the move back into learning easier, which results in them taking more from the course and achieving more than they thought they could.’

For more information on Impact Arts and their community programmes, call 0141 575 3001 or email

For further information on SQA awards, visit