NC Civil Engineering

Architect and engineer having a discussion

National Certificates (NCs) are practical qualifications designed to equip learners with the knowledge and skills (including Core Skills) required for further study or to gain employment.

The NC in Civil Engineering at SCQF level 6 develops basic skills in civil engineering through a focus on practical activities that develop practical, technical and transferable skills.

Civil engineering embraces construction, construction engineering, structural engineering and other specialist areas.

National Certificates are designed for full-time delivery over one year (or part-time over two years) and are available in colleges.

Why deliver this qualification

NCs bridge the progression gap from school attainment to HN and other study. They are suitable for school leavers and those seeking a route back into study at non-advanced level. They are trusted qualifications having been developed by practitioners with the support of CITB-Construction Skills, the sector skills council.

The NC in Civil Engineering is straightforward to deliver and slots readily into college timetables.

It can be offered in any of the following modes:

  • full-time
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • open and distance learning
  • infill into existing classes
  • evening provision
  • January start, ‘Access to HN Course’

National Certificates have e-assessment and e-learning options — improving flexibility and enabling time and cost savings.

Successful completion of this NC would enable a candidate to progress to an HNC/HND Civil Engineering Course or to employment. Once in employment, many continue to study within a Modern Apprenticeship Framework.

National Certificates include opportunities for learners to develop Core Skills.

Who does this qualification suit

This NC is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • learners looking to progress to an HNC/HND
  • migrants to the UK
  • candidates whose first language is not English
  • candidates in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • employers who wish their employees to take part in short, continuing professional development courses
  • individuals who wish to start their own business
  • candidates who are seeking national recognition of their achievements
  • learners who want to study at a pace and style that they determine


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

No prior qualifications are required to undertake this qualification, although learners would benefit from having attained the skills, knowledge and understanding required by one or more of the following, or equivalent qualifications and/or experience:

  • three Standard Grades at Level 3 (General) or above, Intermediate 2 or National 4/5 in English, Science, Mathematics or appropriate technical subjects (Mathematics is strongly recommended for learners wishing to pursue NC in Civil Engineering)
  • a National Certificate in a related discipline
  • those with other entry qualifications, including work experience, who demonstrate a realistic chance of success
  • a construction craft qualification which might be combined with appropriate further study prior to, or in parallel with, the NC programme

Modern apprenticeships

This qualification can be taken as part of the Construction Technical Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship.


The NC in Civil Engineering may provide progression opportunities to:

  • an HNC/HND in Civil Engineering or related area
  • degree level study at a higher education institution
  • employment in the construction sector, perhaps as a Civil Engineering technician

Once in employment, many continue to study within a Modern Apprenticeship Framework.


Centres not already approved to deliver this qualification need to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.

How to assess

Each Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for the Unit.

Assessment of this NC is through a series of theoretical and practical assessments or tasks. Some assessments will be carried out under supervised open-book conditions, others under supervised closed-book conditions.

Each Unit is assessed separately.

Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) are available for selected Units and can be found on SQA’s secure website.

Formative e-assessments have been developed for selected Units and can be downloaded from:


Qualification content and delivery tools


Group Award code: GJ4G 46 (12 SCQF credit points)

SCQF level: 6

The National Certificate in Civil Engineering at SCQF level 6 consists of 10 mandatory Unit(s) (60 SCQF credit points) and two optional Units (12 SCQF credit points).

For further information on the structure and Units of this qualification please refer to the Group Award Specification document.

Group Award Specification


Qualification content and delivery tools

Course Overview and Skills Development Summary

Arrangements Documents

Assessment Support Packs

Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) for all Units, with the exception of Drawing for Construction F3JN 11 and Mathematics: Craft 1 F3HV 11, are available to download from SQA’s secure site.

Formative e-assessments are available for the Units:

  • Modern Methods of Construction (F3JR 12)
  • Sustainability in the Construction Industry (F3JS 12)

Summative e-assessments are being developed for the Units:

  • Civil Engineering Technology (F3J7 12)
  • Mechanics for Construction: An Introduction (F3JC 12)


Group Award Code: G8Y2 46 (72 SCQF credit points)
SCQF level: 6

Eight Mandatory Units

  • Civil Engineering Site Work F3J6 12
  • Civil Engineering Technology F3J7 12
  • Construction Materials: Properties and Testing F3J9 12
  • Construction Materials: An Introduction F3JB 11
  • Mathematics: Craft 1 F3HV 11
  • Mechanics for Construction: An Introduction F3JC 12
  • Computer Aided Drawing in Construction F3J8 12 (finishing 31/07/2017)
  • OR
  • Computer Aided Drafting: An Introduction H65V 46
  • Health and Safety in the Construction Industry F3JA 12 (finishing 31/07/2017)
  • OR
  • Health and Safety in the Construction Industry H669 46

Four Optional Units from the following areas:

  • Architecture
  • Building
  • Construction
  • Drawing/Calculations for Construction

Each Unit is worth 6 SCQF credit points.

Internal Assessment Reports

How to assess

Assessment for this NC may be through multiple choice questions, tasks and group work.

Any other information

There are opportunities for candidates to develop Core Skills during the delivery and assessment of this NC.

Related links

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