HNC Water Operations

Higher National qualifications provide practical skills and theoretical knowledge that meet the needs of employers.

The HNC in Water Operations (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills across all water operations areas such as water quality management, materials and components, wastewater treatment processes, the structure and organisation of the water industry —  and water resources, supervision and management.

This HNC encompasses current changing legislative, technological and organisational requirements of the water industry.

It is available through colleges.

Designed in consultation with the water industry, this qualification develops vocational competences and technical job knowledge as well as supervisory skills.

The Unit-based structure supports flexibility. A Unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

The flexible learning format of this qualification enables a range of delivery methods, which can accommodate individuals and groups of staff.

This qualification is suitable for water industry staff (technical or non-technical) including: team leaders, customer services, network operatives, managers, supervisors, graduates, laboratory technicians, administrative support staff, GIS and human resources staff. It is also suitable for contractors to the water industry.


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. However, learners would benefit from having attained the skills, knowledge and understanding required by one or more of the following or equivalent qualifications and/or experience:

  • appropriate collection of SQA National Units or SVQs
  • alternative qualification(s) at least equivalent to the above
  • any other qualification which demonstrates that the prospective learner has attained a Core Skills profile that will allow them to benefit from taking this qualification

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

Progression and employment

On completion of the course, learners could gain promotion within the water industry, eg from operative to team leader or team leader to manager.

This HNC offers articulation with Herriot Watt University and access to D'Montford University's degree course in Environmental Protection.

Completion of this qualification would allow learners, working in the water industry, to join the Institute of Water Officers.

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 Guide to Approval.

Each individual Unit specification gives detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for each Unit.

HNC Water Operations

Group Award code: GJ90 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Water Operations at SCQF level 7 consists of seven mandatory Units (72 SCQF credit points) and two optional Units (24 SCQF credit points).

For further information on the structure and Units of this qualification please refer to the Group Award Specification document.