HNC Management and Leadership

Higher National Qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers. The HNC in Management and Leadership (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in areas such as self-management, managing operations and leading teams. It provides learners with the skills and knowledge required to enter or progress in a range of leader/manager roles across industry sectors.

The HNC in Management and Leadership is a recognised qualification that is respected by employers across many industry sectors and is jointly certificated with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI).

It includes a wide range of optional units, including Marketing, Managing Financial Resources, Financial Accounting Statements; Human Resource Management, Business Law, Economics; Creating a Culture of Customer Care; Project Management, and Management of Quality.

While undertaking the HNC in Management and Leadership, learners are eligible for 12 months free studying membership of the CMI. On achievement of the HNC, learners are eligible for Associate (ACMI) membership of the CMI.

The qualification is available through colleges and typically is offered on a part-time basis.

SQA has developed Higher National Qualifications 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.

The wide choice of optional units enables centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.

The HNC provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The HNC is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in a range of industry sectors who wish to develop their team leader/manager skills or who aspire to a promoted leader/manager position
  • those seeking to progress their studies
  • school leavers


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 develop knowledge and skills in areas such as self-management, managing operations and leading teams.

Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • any relevant Scottish Group Award at SCQF level 5 or 6 (ie National 5 or Higher)
  • any two National Qualifications at SCQF level 6 (Higher) together with three National 5 passes at SCQF level 5
  • an SVQ at SCQF level 6 in a relevant area
  • a different combination of relevant and equivalent qualifications from other awarding bodies
  • relevant current work experience

Candidates for whom English is not their first language are recommended to obtain 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 a leader/manager.

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

Progression and employment

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

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

Centres without devolved authority are required 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.

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

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

HNC in Management and Leadership

Group award code: GP57 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC in Management and Leadership at SCQF level 7 consists of five mandatory units (56 SCQF credit points), one unit from a choice of eight restricted mandatory units (a minimum of 1 SQA credit/8 SCQF credit points), and a choice of optional units, to ensure an overall total of 12 SQA credits/96 SCQF credit points.

GP57 15 (819 KB)