PDA Production Horticulture SCQF level 6

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards. The PDA in Production Horticulture at SCQF level 6 covers the following specialist skills:

  • work programming and estimating resource requirements
  • resource management
  • plant identification
  • pest and weed control
  • watering and crop nutrients

This qualification covers areas such as

  • promoting, monitoring and maintaining health, safety and security 
  • estimating resource requirements and programme work for land-based projects 
  • managing resources 
  • monitoring and controlling the growth of crops or plants 
  • monitoring and providing crop and plant nutrition
  • identifying and naming plants using their botanical names 
  • co-ordinating the control of weeds, pests, diseases and disorders 

This qualification is available through colleges, training providers and some employers. It has been designed to be delivered as a taught course and will normally be available as a combination of workshops and self-directed study.

The PDA in Production Horticulture at SCQF level 6 has developed in partnership with employers and industry so it is suitable for the current sector.

It will help employers meet skills gaps and provide continuing professional development for staff, while learners will gain knowledge and skills needed for progression in the workplace.

It can also be offered to people who are in training and who wish to gain employment in the sector.

The unit-based structure aids timetable flexibility. Units are typically 40 hours of learning, and they can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis.

This PDA provides progression routes to further study (see Progression). 

The target audience is those in work, or seeking employment, who require a specific skill set.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

Learners do not need to have formal relevant qualifications to enter this PDA. Good communication skills, both oral and written, are required. Current experience within a crop production setting would be advantageous. 

The units in the PDA have been mapped against the National Occupational Standards for Horticulture. 

Learners would have the opportunity of progressing to other PDAs, which could perhaps lead to a full HN qualification in Horticulture at level 7 or 8.

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

Centres without devolved authority will 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 (490 KB).

Each unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for the unit.

Assessment will allow candidates to enhance their own practice. The use of reports and projects is crucial to this.

Group award code: GT1W 46


The PDA in Production Horticulture at SCQF level 6 consists of eight mandatory units and four optional units.