NC Agriculture

NC Agriculture

National Certificates (NCs) are practical qualifications designed to equip learners with the knowledge and skills (including Core Skills) required for further study or to gain employment.

The NC in Agriculture at SCQF level 6 develops basic skills in crop and animal care and focuses on practical activities such as Livestock Husbandry, Health and Welfare; Tractor Operations and Attachments; Farm Maintenance Skills; Soils and Fertility; Crop Production Systems and Grassland Production, carried out in a realistic work environment.

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 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.

The NC in Agriculture is straightforward to deliver and slots readily into college timetables.

It can be offered in any of the following modes:

  • full-time
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • open and distance learning
  • infill into existing classes
  • evening provision
  • January start, ‘Access to HN Course’

National Certificates have e-assessment and e-learning options — improving flexibility and enabling time and cost savings.

Successful completion of this NC would enable a candidate to progress to a Higher National Certificate or Diploma Course or to employment. Once in employment, many continue to study Agriculture related SVQs.

National Certificates include opportunities for learners to develop Core Skills.

Who does this qualification suit

This NC is suitable for a wide range of candidates including:

  • School leavers
  • Adult returners to education
  • Learners looking to progress to an HNC/HND
  • Migrants to the UK
  • Candidates whose first language is not English
  • Candidates in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • Employers who wish their employees to take part in short, continuing professional development courses
  • Individuals who wish to start their own business
  • Candidates who are seeking national recognition of their achievements
  • Learners who want to study at a pace and style that they determine


Entry is at the discretion of the centre.

No prior qualifications are required to undertake this qualification, although experience in Agriculture or knowledge of modern farming practices would be an advantage.


The NC in Agriculture may provide progression opportunities to:

  • SCQF/QCF level 6 to level 7
  • an HNC/HND in Agriculture or related area
  • an SVQ in the Agricultural sector
  • degree level study at a higher education institution
  • employment in the Agriculture sector — perhaps as a general farm worker; assistant stock person; assistant dairy person; tractor operator; trainee auctioneer; trainee sales representative or livestock technician.


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

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

Assessment of this NC is through a series of theoretical and practical assessments or tasks. Some assessments will be carried out under supervised open-book conditions, others under supervised closed-book conditions.

There are opportunities to combine the delivery and assessment of various Units. For example, the Tractor Operations and Attachment Unit and Crop Production Equipment Unit work well together.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

Group Award code: GG00 46 (72 SCQF credit points)

NC Agriculture at SCQF Level 6 (394 KB)

SCQF level: 6 The National Certificate in Agriculture at SCQF level 6 consists of six mandatory Unit(s) (36 SCQF credit points) and six optional Units (36 SCQF credit points).