Our Products and Services

We provide a range of products, services and support which derive from our expertise in developing and maintaining a comprehensive system of qualifications.


Professional Development Awards

The need for sharp, flexible, focused education, skills and training at a high level is strongly recognised. Professional Development Awards (PDAs) are designed to develop and deliver these skills.

They are quick and cost effective to deliver, so are ideal for developing the skills of young people, graduates, and other adult learners. They are ideal for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) so employers can enhance the skills of their employees.

Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs)

Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) can provide a framework for focused, on-the-job training and development. They are an excellent way of making sure that a staff development programme and business strategy goes hand-in-hand.

SVQs are based on national standards of performance developed by representatives from industry and commerce.

Customised Awards

Though SVQs and our other qualifications meet the needs of the majority of organisations, we also offer specially designed vocational qualifications at any level to meet an organisation’s needs for skills and expertise.

Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas

HNCs and HNDs are credible, flexible vocational qualifications, which are designed to deliver the skills and knowledge to meet the needs of today’s businesses.

Developed in partnership with further education colleges, universities, and industry and commerce, they focus on practical skills and their application in the workplace.

National Qualifications

(Including National Units and Courses at National 1 to National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher levels).

Skills for Work Courses

Introduced in August 2007, these qualifications encourage young people to become familiar with the world of work, providing practical experience linked to specific careers. The Courses help young people to develop knowledge and skills that will be important in employment and for life in general.

National Certificates and National Progression Awards (NPAs)

The qualifications are designed to provide specific skills and to underpin the employability skills that employers are looking for.

They provide a gateway into work on a particular career path and can help learners progress to the next stage of study at college or university.

International Vocational Awards

We offer a range of International Vocational Awards (IVAs) in a number of sectors specifically for the international market, for example in Oil and Gas, Police Management and Criminal Intelligence. IVAs can be formed from existing SQA qualifications or tailored to suit specific needs in hybrid form, or developed wholly as a new qualification.


Credit Rating

For qualifications or learning programmes to be included in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF), they must have their SCQF credit rating and level formally confirmed. SQA is a recognised Credit Rating Body for this purpose.

Organisations can now apply to SQA Credit Rating Service to have their qualifications and learning programmes credit rated.


SQA provides a service where we can endorse an organisation’s qualifications or resources that support the delivery of SQA qualifications and awards. This is a commercial service and the endorsed qualification or resource has to meet key criteria to ensure that they are well designed and meet high quality assurance standards.

On completion of the process, organisations are given the 'SQA Endorsed' logo to use on certificates or relevant materials.

Contract Assessment and Licensing Services

Contract Assessment Services gives organisations, who do not have the resources or skills to manage typical awarding body functions, the opportunity to have these services managed on their behalf by an internationally recognised awarding body.

Licensing Services gives organisations who do not have the resources or skills to manage register and licensing functions the opportunity to have these managed on their behalf by a Government approved agency.


The Street Works Qualifications Register (SWQR) is maintained in SQA’s Glasgow office, at the invitation of the Department for Transport. The SWQR holds details of qualified supervisors and operatives who have gained the appropriate qualification in relation to the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 (NRSWA).

Awarding bodies, appointed by the Government, work closely with the SWQR in order that each qualified supervisor or operative can be issued with a durable ID card (which can be produced on site if necessary) to show that he/she is in possession of the appropriate qualification.


Professional Development Workshops

Throughout the year we offer a series of half- and full-day continuing Professional Development Workshops (PDWs). All of our workshops are developed and delivered by subject specialists. They cover a range of topics relevant to business owners, assessors, verifiers, teachers and lecturers — in fact, any professional working within an SQA-approved centre or within the employer, training and education sectors.

Quality assurance

We assure the quality of our qualifications by verifying the assessment decisions made by trainers, teachers and lecturers. We do this to ensure that national standards are being maintained.

A team of External Verifiers regularly sample the assessment decisions made in training centres, in the workplace, colleges and schools. Depending on the nature of what’s being assessed, they can do this by post or in person.

International development

Scotland is recognised throughout the world as a centre of excellence in education and training. We aim to build on this so that we are recognised as an international leader in learning and assessment.

Our International Team supports and develops education and training overseas through a variety of services and activities. These include:

We believe that global interaction in education and training benefits our customers, our clients, our partners and SQA through the sharing of expertise and experience.

This is reflected in the three key areas for action detailed in our International Strategy:

  1. international bench marking and intelligence
  2. promoting Scottish education and training worldwide
  3. supporting education and training worldwide

We work with a broad range of national and international partners to ensure that our qualifications and systems of education and training are relevant, reflect best practice, and meet the changing needs of individuals, the labour market, societies and national economies. These include a range of organisations in a number of countries in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, South and Central America, and Europe.

Our experience in developing standards of competence for a huge range of qualifications in the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector at all levels has enabled us to assist many countries to develop progression routes and learning ladders in their own qualifications systems, contributing to the development of national qualifications frameworks in other countries. These can be benchmarked against international qualifications frameworks.

Website and other e-business

There's a wealth of support materials here on SQA's website. Secure areas of the website allow access to assessment materials for teachers. This includes interactive guidance on how to mark for National Qualifications, and an enormous bank of National Assessments that can be used to assess Units.

We also provide a number of ways for the schools, colleges and other organisations which use our qualifications to interact with us electronically. Using computer-based systems, our customers can now do most of their administration online, which cuts down the time and effort involved.

Other services

We conduct examinations for a number of Scottish, UK and overseas bodies. These include the Scottish Police Service, and the Department for Transport, and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

We also hold the National Register of Streetworks.

We provide help and support for all the organisations which use our qualifications by maintaining a team of dedicated customer support specialists - each centre has a named contact in SQA. We also provide help and advice for candidates during the annual round of examinations for National Qualifications.