HNC Management and Leadership

HNC Management and Leadership

The HNC in Management and Leadership is a recognised qualification that is understood and respected by employers across many industry sectors. It develops a range of operational management and leadership competences that are required by those engaged in, or aspiring to, managerial positions.

The HNC in Management and Leadership (SCQF level 7) covers management principles for those gaining their first experience of management or for those who aspire to become managers in the near future. Key areas covered: self-development; management and leadership skills; managing and working with others; planning/implementing change; managing operational resources; and customer care.

This qualification is available through colleges and typically takes one year to complete.

This award is jointly certificated by SQA and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

Why deliver this qualification

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 wide choice of optional units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.

These HNs provide progression routes to further study (see Progression). 

Who does this qualification suit

The HNC in Management and Leadership is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • adult returners to education
  • candidates employed in management positions who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • candidates who are aspirant managers and wish to move into a management position
  • experienced managers seeking a nationally/internationally recognised qualification


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

The HNC in Management and Leadership is designed for candidates who want to enter into operational management positions in a wide range of organisations.

Examples of formal entry qualifications could include:

  • any relevant Scottish Group Award at SCQF level 5 or 6
  • any two National Qualifications at SCQF level 6, together with three passes at SCQF level 5 or above
  • an SVQ at SCQF level 7 in a relevant area
  • relevant work experience

For candidates where English is not their first language, it is recommended that they possess English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) level 5 or a score of 5.5 in International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

In addition, candidates should possess good communication and analytical skills, along with a desire to attain the professional and personal attributes of an operational manager.

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


Learners who achieve an HNC in Management and Leadership can progress to the Diploma in Management and Leadership.

HNs can provide progression to degree-level study. For example, the HNC in Management and Leadership allows direct entry into the second year of most degree programmes.

Higher National qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). For example, SVQ 3 in Management at SCQF level 7.

Learners can also progress to employment in job roles such as:

  • team leader/supervisor
  • operations team leader
  • office manager
  • sales supervisor
  • facilities manager
  • product manager
  • general manager


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 Systems and Qualification Approval Guide.

How to assess

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment support packs and candidate support packs are available on SQA’s secure site for this qualification. The attached list outlines current support materials (10 KB) available.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

HNC Management and Leadership - Qualification Structure (14 KB)

Group award code: GF5V 15 (12 SQA credits/96 SCQF credit points)

HNC in Management and Leadership at SCQF level 7 consists of nine mandatory credits (72 SCQF credit points) and three optional credits (24 SCQF credit points).

Group Award Specification

Title: HNC Management/Diploma in Managment
Code: GF5V 15/GF6G 48
Date: Version 03 (May 2015)
Download: HNC Management/Diploma in Management Arrangements Document (836 KB)

Support Materials for Candidates

There are a range of candidate support packs and interactive activities available which can assist candidates. You can click on the link for the interactive activities, the support packs can be obtained from your tutor.

Qualification Verification Summary Reports

Qualification Verification Summary Reports were formerly known as Internal Assessment Reports.

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