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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

The APEX NTSF Steps programme is for individuals aged 16 plus, assessed as being at Stages 1-2 of the Employability Pipeline.  It is based on a duration period of approximately 12 weeks.  Depending on individual participant needs this timescale may differ.  The APEX NTSF Steps programme is unique in that there is a delivery partnership between APEX and YPeople.  YPeople is a specialist housing agency who bring a specialism and client reach that Apex Scotland does not have.

Personal Development Mentors (PDMs) identify and engage individuals who are not typically engaging with services.  They support them to remove any barriers or perceived barriers to access services. Stage 1 activity is about supporting people into regular activity and positive routines.  This includes attending appointments with Steps and other support services, both voluntary and statutory. Where required, Steps is offered on an outreach basis and meetings are available to individuals in their own communities.  

As a core part of the assessment process all Steps’ clients aim to gain the:

  • SQA level 2 employability qualification or
  • SCQF Level 2 Digital Literacy at Stage 1

This ensures that they are equipped with a basic level of ICT competency which is crucial for both day to day personal and working life. 

Key results for the Steps service are to progress service users to:

  • education or training,
  • gain qualifications
  • move into employment, including self-employment

As an integral approach to the Steps service Apex Scotland generates referrals into the local authority pipeline at Stage 3.  This allows participants to access further training and progressive opportunities.


As a result of the measures taken following the covid 19 outbreak some APEX services were disrupted.   The Scottish Prison Service initially banned all physical and virtual visits to prisons. This meant that ITA and DWP courses ceased. Some APEX participants are legally banned from using IT and even if participants could use IT the cost often prevented this. Methods other than digital were devised which allowed engagement and delivery to continue. Apex Scotland uses local facilities such as libraries and community centres as meeting spaces.  This encourages participants to reconnect to local resources that will be sustainable. These venues were inaccessible during the COVID 19 Lockdown period and alternative methods of delivery had to be developed.  Apex Scotland changed delivery to online by zoom or their training portal, telephone calls or paper-based contact.

Last modified on 13 March 2024
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