HNC Countryside and Enviromental Management candidate information

The HNC Countryside and Environmental Management will give you a broad understanding of how the different land uses in the countryside interact — in particular the conservation of the countryside and its recreational use. You will investigate a wide range of topics including planning, land use, history and archaeology, and landscape and geology. These will underpin core topics such as ecology, visitor management, interpretation, habitat management and identification skills, and will give you a greater awareness of the wider issues and conflicts that affect the countryside.

You will develop basic ecological and environmental knowledge, and emerge as a positive communicator with a broad, balanced and practical understanding of sustainability, ecological/conservation principles, people and the interface between them. You will have a good understanding of countryside management and different land uses. You will investigate factors that have influenced the development of current land use and the policies and issues which will influence countryside and environmental management in the future.

Employment and Progression Opportunities

After you complete your HNC, the range of possible jobs is wide but you will be able to greatly enhance your employment prospects by getting some practical experience through part-time work or volunteering. The HNC may qualify you to seek work as a Countryside Ranger, Trainer, Footpath Worker, Forestry Worker, Campaigner, or Field Officer.

You may wish to progress to a related degree course. The most obvious of these, and currently the only one in Scotland which deals specifically with countryside management is the BSc Countryside Management offered by the Scottish Agricultural College.


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

  • two Highers, together with three Standard Grade passes and evidence of the Core Skills of Information Technology and Communication at SCQF level 5
  • the National Progression Award in Rural Skills
  • an appropriate group of National Units at SCQF level 5/6, eg Trees in the Environment, Investigating Animal Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation 1 and The Physical Landscape of Scotland
  • an appropriate vocational qualification, eg SVQ/NVQ 3 in a relevant subject, such as Countryside Skills

Other combinations of National Qualifications, vocational Qualifications and qualifications from other awarding bodies may be acceptable at equivalent SCQF levels.

If you have suitable work experience you may be accepted for entry, provided that the centre is satisfied that you are able to cope with, and likely to benefit from, undertaking the award.