PDA Supported Employment SCQF level 7 and 8

PDA Supported Employment SCQF level 7 and 8

Supported Employment services provide individualised support to secure a sustainable, paid job in the open labour market for people with disabilities, long term conditions and multiple barriers to work.

Why deliver this qualification

The PDA in Supported Employment Practice at SCQF level 7 has been designed for delivery as a taught course. Delivery of the award provides a combination of off-the-job and workplace learning. 

This award has been designed to be delivered through an inclusive partnership approach; engaging with employers, training providers and SQA-approved centres. Centres delivering thePDA in Supported Employment Practice at SCQF level 7 must be approved by SQA.

This Award will provide candidates with the opportunity to develop the knowledge, skills and understanding required to work, within a variety of settings, with clients who have additional needs.

Candidates will also develop the skills required to engage with prospective employers and offer them appropriate support throughout the process.

Each component Unit will allow the candidate to enhance their professional practice, evidence continuing professional development and develop as a reflective practitioner.  The Award also seeks to develop in candidates an awareness of what constitutes good practice and how this may be promoted in places of employment.

Who does this qualification suit

This qualification will suit Supported Employment practitioners who wish to develop their skills and achieve a qualification that is directly related to their work.

The Professional Development Award in Supported Employment Practice at SCQF Level 7 is designed primarily for staff and/or volunteers who will be involved in face to face delivery of employment/work placement opportunities for clients with additional needs

The Award and the individual component Units could also be utilised for the purpose of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). For example, staff and volunteers from other professions may want to improve their professional practice in relation to working with clients with additional needs. The Award is also aimed at candidates who wish to develop their skills with a view to moving into a senior and/or management role within their sector.

The following list is not exclusive but is illustrative of the range of potential candidates working in related sectors to whom this Award and its component Units may be of value:

  • Personal Assistants directly employed by  people with disabilities and additional support needs
  • Education staff - (school) teaching staff, guidance staff, classroom assistants, family support liaison workers FE College staff
  • Careers Advisors
  • Advice and Guidance staff
  • Counsellors
  • NHS clinical and administrative staff
  • Social work staff - including through-care and aftercare workers
  • Housing staff and benefits advisors
  • Home care support staff/ Family Liaison Officers
  • Vocational rehabilitation staff


Candidates may wish to progress to the PDA in Supported Employment: Advanced Practice at SCQF Level 8.
There are also various Higher National Qualifications (HNCs), PDAs and SVQs in related areas which may provide progression or alternative options for successful candidates. These include:

  • SVQs in Advice and Guidance
  • SVQs in Community Development Work
  • SVQs in Youth Work
  • SVQs in Health and Social Care
  • HNC/D Additional Support Needs/Supporting and Managing the Service
  • HNC Working with Communities
  • HNC Social Care
  • HNC Counselling
  • PDA Adult Learning and Literacy
  • PDA Working with Individuals with Dyslexia
  • PDA in Health and Social Care: Personalisation in Practice at SQCF level 8
  • Relevant HEI qualifications in, for example, Community Development/Community Work, Careers Information, Youth Work, Social Work


Centres with devolved authority are eligible to seek approval to deliver this qualification through their own internal approval process.  

Centres without devolved authority will have to come forward for approval and should contact the Business Development Team for guidance and support.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA's general requirements as outlined in the guide to approval.

How to assess

A support pack and assessment exemplars will be developed and published on the SQA website.  Centres are free to develop their own assessments; however they may want to consider submitting them for Prior Verification

Methods of assessment may include:

  • Assignments
  • Reflective accounts of practice
  • Case studies
  • Structured questions
  • Observation with appropriate checklists
  • Witness statements

Assessment Support Packs for this qualification are available on SQA's Secure website. These are available from your centre's SQA co-ordinator. For further information, please contact mycentre@sqa.org.uk

Where can you take this course?

Group Award Specification

Case Studies

Implementation Support Pack


SQA would like to acknowledge the support of the Scottish Government in the production of these qualifications.
SQA would also like to thank the Scottish Union for Supported Employment (SUSE) for their input and support throughout the development.
SUSE is a national umbrella organisation for those working in the field of supported employment, whether in the voluntary, public or private sector.