NPA in Professional Computer Fundamentals at SCQF level 6

NPA in Professional Computer Fundamentals at SCQF level 6

The National Progression Award (NPA) in Professional Computer Fundamentals at SCQF level 6 provides learners with skills that they will need for employment or further study.

NPAs are designed for full-time or part-time delivery and are often used for continuing professional development (CPD) for those in employment or as introductory level courses for those wishing to progress to a full-time NC or HNC.

This qualification is widely available in FE colleges.

Why deliver this qualification

The NPA in Professional Computer Fundamentals at SCQF level 6 is based on National Occupational Standards and is funded by the Scottish Funding Council.

The Group Award has been developed to facilitate flexible delivery and assessment. For example, centres could integrate the Units with National Certificate programmes in full-time courses, or deliver the Group Award in isolation, eg evening class programmes and other part-time programmes.

There are also opportunities to integrate learning and assessment across Units. Details can be found in the individual Unit specifications.

Independent learning is encouraged. Where possible, candidates should be able to use their mobile devices and to use online manuals and other support mechanisms such as helpdesks.

There is a range of official books to cover the three subject areas. They are available from Wiley and include instructor resources such as PowerPoint slides and practice exam questions.

Who does this qualification suit

This NPA is designed for:

  • full-time NC students on Computing frameworks
  • part-time learners in who are in employment
  • evening class programmes
  • employers


While entry is at the discretion of the centre, it would be an advantage if candidates had an interest and an understanding of professional IT requirements. It would also be useful if candidates had qualifications at SCQF level 5 — or similar appropriate qualifications and experience.

The following are simply recommendations and should not be seen as a definitive or prescriptive list of entry requirements. The purpose is simply to give guidance on the selection of suitable candidates.

The recommended minimum Core Skills entry profile for the NPA Professional Computer Fundamentals at SCQF level 6 is:

  • Communication SCQF level 5
  • Numeracy SCQF level 5
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT) SCQF level 5
  • Problem Solving SCQF level 5
  • Working with Others SCQF level 5


Successful candidates will be able to apply for entry level jobs in:

  • network administration
  • server administration
  • security administration
  • identity and access
  • management
  • desktop deployment
  • desktop support

This NPA can lead on to the Microsoft Technology Associate qualification, which is a required part of the Microsoft Apprenticeship Programme.

It will also allow progression to the Microsoft Certified Professional Qualifications that are available at HN level.


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.

How to assess

The order of delivery of the Units is at the discretion of the centre. However, a recommended approach would be to be to start with Network Fundamentals, moving on to Security Fundamentals and finally Server Administration Fundamentals. This matches the order as recommended by Microsoft.

Each Unit currently maps to a Microsoft Technology Associate exam. Details of the Microsoft Technology Associate exams can be found at the following address:

At present the Units map to the following exams:

  • SQA Unit - Relevant Microsoft Exam
  • Network Fundamentals - Exam 98-366
  • Security Fundamentals - Exam 98-367
  • Server Administration Fundamentals - Exam 98-365

It is hoped that centres deliver these Units and put their candidates through the relevant Microsoft exam to give them a worldwide recognised professional vendor qualification. These Microsoft exams can be delivered by a centre via the Certiport testing system (

Centres not already delivering exams via Certiport would have to become an approved Certiport testing centre prior to being able to offer these exams.

Where e-assessment is used, centres must consider how they will ensure the authentication of candidate evidence. This can be achieved through a variety of methods such as discussion, video or an approved employer or other responsible person who can verify the candidate work.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

Group Award Code: GG0F 46 at SCQF level 6.

NPA in Professional Computer Fundamentals at SCQF level 6 arrangements (407 KB)

National Progression Award in Professional Computer Fundamentals at SCQF level 6 consists of three mandatory Units at SCQF level 6.