NC An Introduction to Horticulture at SCQF level 4

NC An Introduction to Horticulture at SCQF level 4

National Certificate in An Introduction to Horticulture at SCQF level 4 develops both knowledge and technical skills — but with an emphasis on practical delivery, reflecting the nature of the horticulture industry. Learners will also have the opportunity to develop Core Skills and other essential skills which employers value.

National Certificates are practical qualifications designed to equip learners for further study or to gain employment.

National Certificates (NCs) are designed for full-time delivery over one year (or part-time over two years) and are available through schools, colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

NCs bridge the progression gap from school attainment to HN and other study. They are suitable for both school leavers and those seeking a route back into study at non-advanced level. They are trusted qualifications having been developed by practitioners with the support of the sector skills councils.

There is scope for e-learning and e-assessment of theoretical components within this qualification. However, in the case of practical activities, such as preparing the ground for planting, e-assessment may not always be appropriate; in instances like this, other forms of evidence could be encouraged such as video recording.

Who does this qualification suit

The National Certificate in Horticulture: An Introduction at SCQF level 4 combines practical activities and project work with the necessary underpinning knowledge. It is a basic introduction to the sector and is primarily intended to give school leavers some practical experience and the possibility of progressing to further study.


There are no specific mandatory entry requirements for this award. Although entry is at the discretion of the centre, an interest in horticulture would be beneficial, as would an interest in the environment, sustainability and conservation.

Recommended entry requirements are indicated in each Unit specification.
Candidates who have completed the Skills for Work: Rural Skills C239 10 award may also wish to continue studying at this level (SCQF level 4).

It is anticipated that candidates have Core Skills at Access 3 in all five areas (Communication, Numeracy, ICT, Working with Others and Problem Solving). It is expected that Core Skills profiling will be carried out if a candidate has no formal record of Core Skills achievement.

It is recommended that learners with no formal qualifications are offered an interview where they can gain an insight into the course content and structure.

Mature adults with no formal qualifications may be given entry to the course at the discretion of individual centres.


Candidates who achieve this NC could progress to an SCQF level 5 course in Horticulture or a similar qualification.


What approvals are needed?

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

This award has been developed to facilitate flexible delivery and assessment. Although both practical and theoretical in nature, the emphasis in all Units is practical.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

Group Award Code: GF7Y 44

SCQF level 4

National Certificate in An Introduction to Horticulture at SCQF level 4 (514 KB)

This National Certificate in Horticulture consists of six mandatory Units at SCQF level 4 and a further six optional Units (from a choice of 32) at SCQF level 4 and 5.

Qualification Verification Summary Reports

2016 NQ Horticulture Report (154 KB)