NPA Art and Design: Digital Media

The National Progression Award (NPA) in Art and Design: Digital Media develops the key skills for candidates wishing to succeed in the growing digital design sector. Set at SCQF levels 5 and 6, the NPA meets the needs of the creative industries sector by preparing candidates for further education or employment.

The NPA provides a range of complementary digital media-based art and design skills, with a focus on the development of animation sequences, video, and web-based digital media content for art and design applications.

The level 6 NPA incorporates a creative project-based approach to learning which extends the basic practical experiential learning gained in the level 5 NPA.

This qualification is available in schools and colleges.

Why deliver this qualification

The structure of the NPA in Art and Design: Digital Media allows a high degree of flexibility. It can be offered in a practical setting, such as a candidate’s current place of employment, in a placement scenario, or in a simulated practical learning environment. It can be delivered on a full-time basis, by day release, in evening classes, or in a combination of delivery styles.

This qualification is easy to adopt and plan due to its short length and flexibility and study can be tailored to suit the pace and style of the candidate.

Who does this qualification suit

The NPA in Art and Design: Digital Media is intended for candidates who want to develop working skills in the applied use of digital media for art and design, or who have a desire to develop specific expertise in the expanding area of contemporary digital media art and design practice.

The NPA at SCQF level 5 is designed as an introductory short course for candidates with no prior experience of digital media. The level 6 NPA aims to develop more advanced skills and techniques.

Both levels are suitable for school pupils, school leavers, and adult returners seeking formal recognition of existing and new skills.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. Candidates would benefit from having some knowledge, understanding or experience of art-based IT skills.

It is expected that those completing the level 5 NPA will be at a developmental stage and will require further development of practical skills, knowledge and applied understanding.

Candidates undertaking the level 6 NPA should ideally have working knowledge of both the design process and a basic grounding in art-based IT skills.


Successful candidates may progress to:

  • SCQF level 6 from level 5 
  • relevant HN qualifications including Art and Design, Computer Art and Design, Contemporary Art Practice, 3D Design or Visual Communication
  • study at art school
  • higher education studying for a BA (Hons) in Art and Design, Digital Arts, Architecture, Design, Illustration, Fine Art, Printmaking, Painting, Sculpture, Environmental Art Industrial Design, Textile Design or Community Arts, etc.
  • employment in the creative industries as a gallery assistant, community art worker or assistant, or as an art/craft shop assistant


Centres with devolved authority are eligible to seek approval through their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance in completing the combined CA1/SA1 form.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements as outlined in the guide to approval.

How to assess

All Units are assessed on a series of practical tasks. Practical tasks include research and production of written and/or oral reports and the production of a project relevant to the specific Unit. These are presented as a folio of work for each Unit. Folios can be in the form of sketchbooks, workbooks, display boards or an electronic display. These should be produced under open-book conditions.

Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) are available for selected Units and are available to download from SQA’s secure website.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

Group Award code: G96V 45 (18 SCQF credit points)
Group Award code: G96W 46 (18 SCQF credit points)

Both levels have three mandatory Art and Design: Digital Media Units. The three discipline strands are consistent across both levels, allowing for the progressive development of skills and applied practice.

NPA in Art and Design: Digital Media at SCQF Levels 5 and 6 (115 KB)


SCQF level 5 NPA

Mandatory Units
Art and Design: Web Content — F5BP 11
Art and Design: Digital Video Skills — F5BR 11
Art and Design: Animation Skills — F5BT 11

SCQF level 6 NPA

Mandatory Units
Art and Design: Web Project — F5C3 12
Art and Design: Video Project — F5C4 12
Art and Design: Animation Project — F5C6 12

Any other information

The NPAs have been mapped against the current Skillset National Occupational Standards (NOS) for production and related design and animation design.