National Progression Award in Horticulture at SCQF level 4

National Progression Award in Horticulture at SCQF level 4

National Progression Awards (NPAs) assess a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas, linked to National Occupational Standards.

The NPA in Horticulture at SCQF level 4 introduces learners to techniques that are important in the horticulture sector and covers areas such as allotment gardening and plant propagation.

It develops: knowledge and understanding of horticulture; practical, technical and transferable skills; oral, written and evaluation abilities; resource management; problem solving and planning; and organisational and communication skills.

The qualification is available through schools although colleges and training providers may also offer it.

Why deliver this qualification

NPAs are trusted because they are developed by practitioners from industry and are supported by the sector skills council Lantra. Industry has recognised that the qualification fits the job.

The NPA in Horticulture at SCQF level 4 offers current, fit for purpose, bite-sized chunks of learning that are straightforward for centres to adopt and for learners to study. New skills can be gained quickly and cost effectively.

The framework of mandatory and optional units enables centres to tailor their offer to meet local needs while the size of unit also supports flexibility — units can slot into school timetables and they are a more manageable size for employee training.    

NPAs provide opportunities for partnership delivery that can provide benefits for partners and increase options for learners.

NPAs can add value and breadth to a CV for a learner by developing vocational skills.

This NPA covers SCQF level 4, allowing clear progression and development routes to higher level education. It also provides opportunities to develop:

  • Core Skills
  • transferable skills
  • employability skills           

The NPA could be offered in one of the following modes:

  • full-time (eg as a fast-track into full a NC programme)
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • open and distance learning
  • infill into existing classes
  • evening provision

Who does this qualification suit

The NPA is suitable for:

  • learners who are at school or who may have just left school
  • mature candidates who may have been out of education for a long period of time
  • individuals who are currently in employment and wish to obtain a formal qualification
  • those who are looking to access HN programmes
  • learners who want to study at a pace and style that they determine
  • employees who want to develop their careers
  • individuals who are seeking national recognition of their achievements
  • employers who wish their employees to take part in short continuing professional development courses


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. The qualification has been designed at an introductory level and no prior experience is required.


The SCQF level 4 award could provide progression to:

  • an NC in Horticulture or related area
  • an SVQ in the horticulture sector


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 Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

How to assess

Assessment of this award will be a combination of practical and knowledge assessments under closed- and open-book assessment conditions. It is recommended that centres refer to the assessment and evidence requirements for each unit.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification Structure

Group award code: GL2C 44 (18 SCQF credit points)

The NPA in Horticulture at SCQF level 4 consists of two mandatory units (12 SCQF credit points).