HNC Working with Communities

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC in Working with Communities (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as capacity building and community learning and development.

The HNC covers the following community learning and development topics: principles and practice, learning approaches, social science approaches, workplace practice, and group work. The graded unit focuses on working with communities.

The units can be delivered in the context of adult learning, youth work, health promotion, and capacity building in communities.

This qualification is available through colleges. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete.

This subject will not have alternative assessment guidance for session 2023-24. You should refer to the Group Award/Unit specifications for detailed delivery and assessment information. For general support on delivery and assessment see the HNVQ assessment guidance 2023-24.

Higher National qualifications have been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry ¿ so employers recognise that they provide sound evidence of ability.

The unit-based structure supports flexibility. A unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

There is a wide choice of optional units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.

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

The HNC is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of recommended entry qualifications include:

  • SVQ in Community Development Work at SCQF level 6
  • SVQ in Youth Work at SCQF level 6
  • NC in Working with Communities at SCQF level 6
  • PDA in Community Involvement at SCQF level 6 or level 7

Different combinations of relevant National Qualifications, vocational qualifications and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies may also be acceptable.

Progression and employment

There are related degree courses available; however, acceptance on a degree course is at the discretion of the receiving university.

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

Centres without devolved authority require 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.

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

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

HNC in Working with Communities

Group award code: GM1M 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC in Working with Communities at SCQF level 7 consists of six mandatory units (80 SCQF credit points) and two optional units (16 SCQF credit points).

Qualification Verification Summary Reports were formerly known as Internal Assessment Reports.