NPA Contemporary Gaelic Songwriting and Production

NPA Contemporary Gaelic Songwriting and Production

National Progression Awards (NPAs) assess a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas, linked to National Occupational Standards. The NPA in Contemporary Gaelic Songwriting at SCQF level 5 introduces learners to techniques that are important in the creative industries sector.

This NPA develops knowledge and understanding of music, songwriting, performance and presentation. It also develops knowledge of contemporary Gaelic culture and sound technology, together with practical, technical and transferable skills — such problem solving and planning, reviewing and evaluating, and working with others.

This award will give learners an understanding of the issues which have shaped modern Gaelic society, both culturally and linguistically. While learners will be introduced to the roots of Gaelic music making, the focus will be on the transition to contemporary Gaelic music and the application of Gaelic to contemporary genres.

The qualification is available through schools, colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

NPAs are trusted because they are developed by practitioners from industry and are supported by the relevant sector skills council (SSC). Industry has recognised that the qualification fits the job.

The NPA in Contemporary Gaelic Songwriting at SCQF level 5 offers current, fit for purpose, bite-sized chunks of learning that are straightforward for centres to adopt and for learners to study. New skills can be gained quickly and cost effectively.

The framework of mandatory and optional Units enables centres to tailor their offer to meet local needs while the size of Unit also supports flexibility — Units can slot into school timetables; and they are a more manageable size for employee training.    

The focus of this National Progression Award (NPA) is on Gaelic Songwriting and Production as a means to promote a broad understanding of the Gaelic world and the relevance of the use of Gaelic in contemporary contexts. This will ensure that Gaelic will be promoted in a context which engages younger learners as well as being accessible to adult returners.

For those at the beginning of their Gaelic learning journey, the intention is that the award should be delivered concurrently with Gaelic/Gàidhlig at SCQF level 5. However it could also be of interest to fluent speakers who wish to develop their understanding of contemporary Gaelic culture in the context of music and this is also possible.

NPAs provide opportunities for partnership delivery that can provide benefits for partners and increase options for learners. They also can add value and breadth to a CV for a learner by developing vocational skills.

This NPA covers SCQF level 5, allowing clear progression and development routes to:

  • higher level education
  • employment

This NPA provides opportunities to develop:

  • Core Skills
  • transferable skills
  • employability skills

The NPA could be offered in one of the following modes:

  • full-time (eg as a fast-track into a full NC programme)
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • open and distance learning
  • evening provision

Who does this qualification suit

The NPA is suitable for any candidate who is at the start of a Gaelic learning journey. It is suitable for a range of possible candidates, from those of school age who are looking to progress to a career in arts or media sectors, to adults who wish to enhance their Gaelic language skills through the creativity of music and song. These may include:

  • learners who are at school or who may have just left school
  • mature candidates who may have been out of education for a long period of time
  • individuals who are currently in employment and wish to obtain a formal qualification
  • those who are looking to access HN programmes
  • employees who want to develop their careers
  • individuals who are seeking national recognition of their achievements
  • employers who wish their employees to take part in short continuing professional development courses


While entry is at the discretion of the centre, an interest in and a basic knowledge of Gaelic would be useful and this may be evidenced by attainment in Gaelic in SCQF level 4 or equivalent skills. It would also be helpful if candidates had obtained a Music qualification at SCQF level 4 or had an equivalent skill level.


The level 5 award could provide progression to:

  • SCQF levels 6 to 9
  • FE Traditional Music in Gaelic
  • an HNC/HND in Music
  • BA in Gaelic and Traditional Music, BA Gaelic Language and Culture
  • employment in the creative industries sector


Centres not already approved to deliver this qualification need 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 Guide to Approval.

How to assess

Assessment of this award will be a combination of practical and knowledge assessments under closed and open-book assessment conditions. It is recommended that centres refer to the assessment and Evidence Requirements for each Unit.

A variety of assessment techniques will be required, including compilation of folios of evidence, written or oral tests.

The delivery of the award is at the individual centre's discretion.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

Group Award code: GC7Y 45 (24 SCQF credit points)

The NPA in Contemporary Gaelic Songwriting and Production at SCQF level 5 consists of four mandatory Units (24 SCQF credit points). 

NPA Contemporary Gaelic Songwriting and Production at SCQF Level 5 (403 KB)