Qualification Types Explained

Most subject areas offer courses at various levels, meaning that there is something for everyone!

Qualification types

Entry level: SCQF 1 – 3

Courses designed to meet the individual needs of learners, these will incorporate essential skills, personal development and a range of activities and opportunities to support you as you prepare for next steps.

National Progression Award (NPA): SCQF 2 – 6

NPAs are aimed at assessing a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas. They link to National NPA Occupational Standards which are the basis of Vocational Qualifications. We offer a range of NPAs in specific subject areas.

Intro: SCQF 4 – 5

Often requiring no formal entry qualifications, an introductory course might be for you if you are just starting out and can demonstrate an interest in, and aptitude for, a particular subject. Your course will include subject specific study, activities and projects, as well as opportunities to develop core and essential skills to support your progression to further study and/or employment.

Vocational Qualification (VQ): SCQF 4 – 11

VQs were designed to improve the skills of the nation’s workforce. These qualifications are available for a wide range of occupations and are offered at SVQ levels 1 – 5. They are an excellent route for you to enhance your career development. Some VQs are work-based, some delivered in the college and others through a mix of college attendance and work-based training.

Non-Advanced: SCQF 5 – 6

Across all of our subject areas, you will find a range of non-advanced courses. These include National Units, National Courses (including Highers), National Certificate Group Awards and college-devised Certificates (groupings of units in a subject area). Courses will include core and essential skill development to support your progression into employment or further study at a more advanced level.

Modern Apprenticeship (MA): SCQF 5 – 7

Modern Apprenticeships offer anyone aged over 16 paid employment combined with the opportunity to train for jobs across a wide range of sectors. They are an exciting way of gaining skills and qualifications that will help to start a career without having to study full-time. As a Modern Apprentice you will be employed from the very start of your training and will receive a wage from your employer. You will then be given the chance to develop expertise and knowledge through on-the-job assessment, as well as gaining vital skills such as teamwork and problem solving. Many Modern Apprentices attend colleges to study the theory relating to their chosen occupation.
Find out more about the Modern Apprenticeships that we offer.

Foundation Apprenticeship (FA): SCQF 6

Foundation Apprenticeships are a work-based learning opportunity for secondary school pupils in S5 and S6 developed to give valuable, real-world work experience while still at school. Pupils spend time at college and with a local employer, working towards an industry-recognised qualification as part of their school timetable.
Find out more about the Foundation Apprenticeships that we offer.

Professional Development Award (PDA): SCQF 6 – 12

PDAs are designed for those already in a career or vocation who wish to broaden or extend their skills bases. They are ideal for developing your skills, as well as for CPD (Continuing Professional Development), so employers can use them to support the enhancement of employees’ skills.

Higher National Certificate/Diploma (HNC/D): SCQF 7–8

The college offers a wide range of HNC and HND courses. These are SQA qualifications which will provide you with both the practical skills you need to do a job and the theoretical knowledge your employer will expect you to have. They also help develop advanced study skills and the generic core skills necessary to progress to university. Some HNCs allow direct entry into the second year of a degree qualification and some HNDs allow direct entry into third year. So whether you want to go straight into a job, or continue with your studies, a Higher National qualification is a good place to start.

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Browse our courses with places available