HNC Watch Management (Fire and Rescue)

General Information

The HNC in Watch Management (Fire and Rescue Service) was developed by the Scottish Fire Service College and Adam Smith College working in partnership with SQA. 

It has been developed in direct response to the identified need by the Fire Industry to provide certificated programmes of management training to staff in second line management positions. The award takes into account the requirements of the Fire Industry National Occupational Standards, and provides the required management theory to support the operational aspects as assessed via the current vocational qualifications framework, eg SVQs in Operations in the Community, Watch Management. The SVQ programmes place their emphasis on the more operational and practical elements of the Fire Industry roles that they underpin, and it is therefore intended that the HNC provides a theoretical framework in support of these, and builds on the knowledge already delivered and assessed via the PDA in Crew Management.

The award has been specifically designed to support the second line manager role within the Fire Industry and includes the specific underpinning management theory required at this level. It will therefore be certificated in its own right. Successful candidates have the opportunity to further develop their management knowledge and skills by articulating to other management qualifications, for example the Diploma in Management.

The HNC provides a thorough understanding of management theory as required by the Fire Industry. This includes problem solving techniques, broad knowledge of the subject area, application of basic and routine professional skills and techniques associated with the discipline, presenting and evaluating arguments and information routine to the discipline, exercising some initiative and independence in carrying out defined tasks, and using a wide range of routine skills. Throughout the delivery and assessment of the award the use of appropriate IT applications will be encouraged, and on achievement of the award, candidates will have developed sound communications skills as encouraged by the range of assessment techniques employed.

The content of the HNC includes a Graded Unit and the choice of an investigation as the instrument of assessment is to pull out the key elements of the Units within the HNC.


The HNC in Watch Management has been developed for the Scottish Fire Service and will be delivered within the context of the Scottish Fire Service.

Access to the award will be at the discretion of the presenting centre. Candidates should be a serving member within the Fire Industry who either holds, or aspires to, a second line management position;

Consideration will be given to candidates who wish to be considered for entry via Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) or Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL).