Food and Drink Operations (Fish and Shellfish Industry Skills)

Food and Drink Operations (Fish and Shellfish Industry Skills)

The Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) in Food and Drink Operations (Fish and Shellfish Industry Skills) at SCQF level 6 provides learners with the knowledge and skills required to work in the food manufacturing sector. It enables individuals to be more proficient in food manufacture and is aimed at staff in the fish and shellfish sector.

Learners must achieve one of three mandatory Units covering the monitoring and managing of fish and shellfish processing operations and leadership in this area of food manufacture. Optional Units offer the opportunity to tailor the qualification to meet specific business needs, for example developing skills in a range of fish and shellfish processes including procedures and recording production operations. There are also additional Units covering product knowledge, frying fish and chips, smoking, quality assessment and seafood sales.

This qualification has been developed by Improve Ltd – the Sector Skills Council for the food and drink manufacturing sector – and is awarded jointly by SQA and Improve Ltd.
It is available through employers and training providers.

This SVQ must be assessed in the workplace, so is only suitable for individuals employed in the onshore sectors of the fish and shellfish industry.

Why deliver this qualification

The SVQ in Food and Drink Operations (Fish and Shellfish Industry Skills) at SCQF level 6 is a new addition to the suite of SVQs for Food and Drink Operations and complements the SVQ  in Food and Drink Operations (Fish and Shellfish Processing Skills) at SCQF level 6. It is designed specifically to meet the skills needs of the growing fish processing sector and recognises the growing needs of retailers for staff trained in technical and quality roles in this sector to enable them to increase their competitiveness in this market.

Due to the practical, competence-based nature of this qualification, it must be delivered in the workplace or real work environment. Simulation is not permitted under the Assessment Strategy. It may be delivered full-time or part-time.

The achievement of other awards in the Food and Drink sector such as the NPA in Food Manufacture at SCQF level 6, Health and Food Technology at National 4/5 or SVQ 1 in Food Preparation may contribute towards the knowledge and understanding required by the SVQ.

Who does this qualification suit

This SVQ is suitable for:

  • individuals who are currently in employment and who wish to obtain a formal qualification in the sector
  • individuals who are employed in the food sector and wish to develop the skills required to work at supervisory level within the fish and shellfish sector
  • employers who wish their employees to take a course for continuing professional development 


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

No prior qualifications are required to undertake this qualification, although experience in/knowledge of fish and shellfish production processes would be an advantage. Given the practical nature of this qualification, and that it must be assessed in the workplace, it is only suitable for those who are employed or are in work placement in the food industry.


The SVQ 3 at SCQF 6 could provide progression to:

  • an HNC in Food Science and Technology at SCQF level 7 or a management qualification
  • degree level study in a related discipline
  • employment in the sector at supervisory/management level
  • there may also be lateral progression to the SVQs in Aquaculture.


Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have 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

For general information on how to assess this qualification, please refer to the document Guidance on how to assess SVQs.  

Assessment of this award will be through a series of theory-based and practical assessments or tasks based on real work situations. Some practical assessments may be carried out under supervised conditions. Others may be carried out unsupervised under open-book conditions.

NB the Assessment Strategy does not allow for workplace simulation. The Assessment requirements are detailed in Improve’s Assessment Strategy  (335 KB) 2013 and SQA's Assessment Guidance.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Information about the qualification(s)

Qualification Structure

Group Award code: GJ1M 23

The Level 3 SVQ in Food and Drink Operations (Fish and Shellfish Industry Skills) at SCQF level 3 consists of one mandatory Unit (from a choice of three) and seven optional Units.

For details of the Units making up the SVQ, please refer to the Qualification Structure (280 KB)

National Occupational Standards

Centres/candidates undertaking these Courses should also refer to the full National Occupational Standards for information relating to the overview and scope.

Unit information for this qualification is available on our Accredited Qualification Unit Search.

Awarding partnership arrangements

This SVQ is jointly awarded with Improve Ltd.

Modern Apprenticeships

This SVQ is a mandatory component of the Modern Apprenticeship.

SQA also offers the following components of this Apprenticeship.

Unit title


Core Skills: Communication

F428 04

Core Skills: Numeracy

F42C 04

Core Skills: Information and Communication Technology

F42G 04

Core Skills: Problem Solving

F42L 04

Core Skills: Working with Others

F42R 04

For further information on Modern Apprenticeships for the Food and Drink Sector, please visit Improve. Ltd

Information about delivery, assessment, quality assurance and support material

Assessment strategy

Food and Drink Operations (Fish and Shellfish Industry Skills) Assessment Strategy 

Assessor's guidelines

Candidate Guidance and Portfolio

Useful links

mappIT logo Skills Development Scotland Logo Improve Ltd Logo