PDA Leadership SCQF level 8

The Professional Development Award (PDA) in Leadership at SCQF level 8 is designed to build and achieve competence in leadership and the development of operational plans. It is primarily aimed at managers who have gained some management experience and wish to consolidate and enhance their competence as leaders.

This qualification is available through training providers, colleges and some employers. It has been designed to be delivered in the workplace with candidates generating the required evidence as part of their current management role.

This qualification is jointly certificated with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

The PDA in Leadership at SCQF level 8:

  • is nationally recognised
  • can be achieved at work
  • has no formal entry requirements
  • provides recognition of leadership and managing change skills
  • enables progression within the Management SVQ framework
  • enhances career prospects

Candidate support packs are available for the knowledge requirements of the two units in this qualification.

The unit-based structure aids flexibility, with candidates generating the required evidence naturally through their current management job role.

This PDA provides progression routes to further study, training and professional qualifications (see Progression).

SQA and CMI have joined forces to help build careers in Management. CMI now offers one year free studying membership for those undertaking an SQA generic Management qualification. For further information please visit: http://www.managers.org.uk/sqa.

The main target audience for the PDA in Leadership at SCQF level 8 is those currently employed in management posts, usually at first-line or middle management levels.

The PDA consists of SVQ units, which are workplace units. To be eligible for these units, candidates must have current occupational experience in a management role and be able to generate the relevant evidence.


Whilst entry to the PDA in Leadership at SCQF level 8 is at the discretion of the centre, eligible managers should have current experience in a managerial role which will enable them to demonstrate the competences of the two units in this PDA.

The PDAs in Management are based on SVQ Management units. In line with the Assessment Strategy developed for SVQs in Management, access to the PDAs in Management is open only to those who currently occupy a management role that enables them to display competence at the level of the standards which make up the award. The nature and level of the management role may vary depending on the level of PDA involved.

Candidates can progress to other PDAs in Management covering topics such as Planning and Implementing Change. They could also progress to an SVQ in Management at SCQF level 7 or SCQF level 9 (depending on their management job role).

Candidates achieving this PDA are also eligible for studying membership of CMI, which means that they can become part of the professional community of managers and can benefit from development opportunities that this can bring.

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

Centres without devolved authority must 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.

As this PDA is made up of SVQ units, the assessment is governed by the Assessment Strategy for PDAs in Leadership and Management

Candidates gather evidence of their performance through normal workplace activity, in line with the requirements of the PDA. This evidence will be assessed using usual workplace assessment methods, such as use of portfolios/e-portfolios; observation; examining of work products; testimonial evidence from witnesses; personal statements; accreditation of prior learning, etc.

Qualifications Structure

Group Award code: GM7G 48 (23 SCQF credit points)


The PDA in Leadership at SCQF level 8 consists of 2 mandatory units:

  • Provide Leadership in Your Area of Responsibility
  • Develop Operational Plans

To assist with knowledge requirements, SQA has produced a range of support materials for SVQs in Management and the suite of PDAs in Management (consisting of SVQ Units). Your centre's SQA Co-ordinator will have access to these support materials on SQA's secure website. Please approach them for access. The attached document shows support materials currently available for all SQA's Management Awards (40 KB).