HNC Hospitality Operations

HNC Hospitality Operations

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

The HNC in Hospitality Operations (SCQF level 7) develops knowledge and skills in core areas of hospitality operations such as food and beverage service, food hygiene, supervision, and financial control systems.

It also provides the opportunity to complete more specialist units in, for example, accommodation operations, front office management, specialist food and beverage services, and events and conferences.

This qualification is available through colleges. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete.

Alternative assessment guidance 2021-22

For guidance on which approach suits your current circumstances please use the HNVQ assessment decision tree

Why deliver this qualification

Higher National Qualifications have been developed by SQA 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.

There is a wide choice of optional units which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to meet local needs.

This HN provides progression routes to further study (see Progression). 

Who does this qualification suit

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

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • people who wish to start their own business


As with all SQA qualifications, entry is at the discretion of the centre. Examples of formal entry qualifications include:

  • appropriate groupings of National Units
  • an SVQ at SCQF level 5 or 6 in a relevant area
  • relevant work experience

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 Hospitality Operations can progress to the HND in Hospitality Management.

HNCs and HNDs can provide progression to degree-level study. For example, the HNC in Hospitality Operations allows direct entry into the second year of some degree programmes, and the HND in Hospitality Management allows direct entry to some third year programmes.

Higher National Qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), for example, SVQ in Hospitality Supervision and Leadership.


Centres interested in offering this qualification require 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. The specific delivery requirements are set out in the Group Award Specification (Arrangements Document).

How to assess

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

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment/e-assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification content and delivery tools


Qualification Structure

Group award code: GR1F 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Hospitality Operations at SCQF level 7 consists of six mandatory units (64 SCQF credit points) and two to four optional units (32 SCQF credit points).

Group Award Specification

Qualification Support Team Meeting Notes


This group award has been replaced and has entered into its lapsing period.

The finishing date for this qualification is 31 July 2023.

Centres should note that when a group award is entered into its lapsing period, the following will apply:

  • The group award will be deleted from the relevant catalogue.
  • The group award arrangements document will remain until the qualification reaches its finish date at which point it will be removed from SQA's website and archived.
  • No new centres may be approved to offer the group award.
  • Centres should only enter candidates whom they expect to complete the group award during the defined lapsing period of three years (HNC) and four years (HND).

Qualification Structure

Group award code: GF4P 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

The HNC in Hospitality consists of six mandatory units (64 SCQF points at SCQF level 7) and the optional units section comprises a minimum of 32 SCQF points (4 HN credits). Learners must achieve 96 SCQF credit points (12 HN credits) to gain this qualification.

For information on the structure of this qualification, please refer to the group award specification.

Group Award Specification

Version 17 (August 2017) HNC Hospitality (GF4P 15) (823 KB)

Qualification Verification Summary Reports

For candidates where English is not their first language

For candidates where English is not their first language it is recommended that they possess English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) level 5 or a score of 5.5 in IELTS.