NextGen: HN - Meta-skills

Meta-skills are transferable behaviours and abilities that help you adapt and succeed in life, study and work.

There are three broad categories of meta-skills:

  • Self-management – focusing, integrity, adapting, initiative.
  • Social intelligence – communicating, feeling, collaborating, leading.
  • Innovation – curiosity, creativity, sense-making, critical thinking.

What's different about NextGen: HN?

NextGen: HN courses will include the development of meta-skills as part of their core content, complementing vocational, academic and technical aspects of the learning. Employers, lecturers and training providers have always supported learners to develop meta-skills, even if they haven’t used this term. By formally including meta-skills now, we can make this support much more visible, and learners will be better able to actively develop and articulate their career-ready skills, whatever their future pathways.

Employers in every sector of our economy are increasingly prioritising the behavioural or “meta” skills of their employees. Technical know-how, job specific content and business operating environments change quickly. Meta skills offer organisations greater adaptability and responsiveness to change...

Universities Scotland


SQA Academy – Meta-skills modules for learners

This suite of online resources is designed specifically for NextGen: HN learners to help them better understand and work with meta-skills. The courses can complement teaching and learning activities or be used on a stand-alone basis, for independent working. They ask learners to consider the relevance and benefits of meta-skill development to their own life, study and work, and guide learners through the process of meta-skills development.

NextGen: HN – Meta-skills for learners

Profiler for Learners

We are testing the following resource to carry out a baseline self-assessment, set personal development goals and outline intended actions.

Meta-skills Profiler (902 KB)

Meta-skills: Stepping up from HNC to HND

Meta-skills — stepping up from HNC to HND in NextGen: HN (91 KB)

Skills 4.0: a skills model to drive Scotland’s future

The meta-skills model used in Next Gen HN, developed by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and the Centre for Work-based Learning Scotland.

Skills 4.0: A skills model to drive Scotland’s future

Practitioner module

This course offers information and guidance for practitioners about the inclusion, delivery, and assessment of meta-skills in NextGen: HN qualifications. It also functions as a companion guide for the learner modules – briefly outlining content and opportunities for extension activities – suggesting possible approaches for self-assessment activities, how to manage goal setting and action plans, and ways to undertake reflective activities.

NextGen: HN – Meta-skills for practitioners

Meta-skills: Assessment and Grading advice

This document contains assessment and grading support for meta-skills, including evidence requirements, additional guidance and an assessment checklist for practitioners.

Assessing and Grading Meta-skills in Next Generation Higher National Qualifications (364 KB)

Meta-skills Profiler

This is an SQA Academy version of the profiler for learners to use and record their work. 

Meta-skills Profiler: SQA Academy

For NextGen: HN centres, we are also trialling the set-up of a centre-specific profiler with practitioner permissions, allowing you to view learner work. If you are interested in using the SQA Academy profiler as a class resource, please contact us by completing this form.

UShare Resources

UShare offers a collection of resources which relate to the three key processes of meta-skills development: self-awareness, goal setting and reflective practice. 

Meta-skills resources on Ushare

Meta-skills: Stepping up from HNC to HND

Meta-skills — stepping up from HNC to HND - advice for practitioners (135 KB)

We propose a refreshed purpose for colleges that is unambiguously focused on helping businesses to grow by making sure they have access to people with the technological, vocational, and 'meta' skills needed in the decade ahead - and beyond.

Paul Little, Principal and Chief Exec, City of Glasgow College