HNC Game and Wildlife Management

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers.

The HNC in Game and Wildlife Management (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as game bird and deer management, public relations for field sports, workplace practice, and wildlife legislation.

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 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 in Game and Wildlife Management (SCQF level 7) is suitable for a wide range of learners including:

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


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre.

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

Practical experience within the industry, for example working as a beater, would be beneficial for learners.

Progression and empolyment

HNCs and HNDs can provide progression to degree-level study. For example, the HNC in Game and Wildlife may allow direct entry into the second year of some degree programmes.

Higher National qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). For example, the suite of Level 3 SVQs in Game and Wildlife Management (Deer; Game Rearing; Gamekeeping).  

Candidate information

The HNC Gamekeeping with Wildlife Management is a specialist award within Scotland. It has provided the industry with well trained personnel over the last ten years. It is highly regarded within the game field industry as it allows candidates direct entry into employment and into Higher Education.

The HNC will provide you with a qualification that will further your personal and professional development. It is aimed primarily at those who will be working at Beatkeeper, Ghillie and single-handed level on a sporting estate.

If you have been working in the industry and have gained qualifications at non-advanced level, the qualification provides a progression route, or a way of facilitating a career move or career change. The HNC is also suitable if you have previously achieved a relevant group of National Units in Gamekeeping or an SVQ 2 in Gamekeeping and wish to develop your technical competence and managerial skills.

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

Centres without devolved authority will have 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 Guide to Approval.

Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply. 

HNC Game and Wildlife Management

Group Award Code: GL04 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Game and Wildlife Management at SCQF level 7 consists of 11 mandatory Units (88 SCQF credit points) and one optional Unit (8 SCQF credit points).