PDA Trade Union Organising For Equality SCQF level 7

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Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards.

The PDA in Trade Union Organising for Equality at SCQF level 7 covers the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to carry out the role of union representative in a variety of work settings. It is designed to develop the specialist skills and knowledge needed to support members and to engage with employers.

It is envisaged that this Award will be delivered by training providers in partnership with a trade union. Training providers could include FE colleges, local authorities, voluntary sector organisations and private training companies.

Learners must be able to demonstrate the support of their nominating union to undertake the course.

This qualification has been developed by SQA in partnership with colleges, universities and industry. It has been designed to be delivered as a taught course and will normally be available as a combination of workshops and self-directed study.

There is a wide choice of optional Units, which will enable centres to offer courses tailored to local needs. The Unit-based structure also supports flexibility. A Unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

This qualification can be offered to trade union representatives who are paid (full-time or part-time) or who are volunteers.

Recognition of prior learning can allow 'fast-track' assessment. Given the nature and purpose of this qualification, recognition of prior learning may be an important addition to the assessment methodology.

There may be articulation and credit transfer opportunities within this suite of awards for candidates who have already completed one or more union training courses. Candidates should be offered the opportunity to have their previous achievement mapped against the Units of the HNC and PDAs.

The component Units can be used to provide evidence of continuing professional development.

This qualification is designed for trade union representatives currently active in the workplace who may be looking to improve their professional practice and develop their knowledge of legislation.

In addition, the component Units can be offered as continuing professional development (CPD) to facilitate career progression, eg to a full-time position as trade union organiser/representative.


Access is at the discretion of the centre.

Candidates should be currently active trade union representatives or hold a relevant trade union position in paid or voluntary work. They must be able to demonstrate that they have the support of their nominating trade union.

It is recommended that candidates possess a general background knowledge of trade union organising and representation prior to the course.

The Unit Trade Union Organising and Representation: Organising and Representing Members is common to the four specialist Union PDAs.

It is possible for a learner to start with the PDA most closely aligned to their role as a trade union representative and go on to achieve the HNC in incremental stages at a pace appropriate to their needs.

To achieve the HNC in Trade Union Organising and Representation (GG2E 15), a learner must successfully complete the three core Units, a further three specialist mandatory Units, and a further five optional Units.

The four PDAs are embedded in the HNC so the specialist mandatory Units allow the learner to also gain the PDA most suitable to their specific role as a trade union representative.

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.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Assessment will allow candidates to enhance their own practice. The use of reports and projects is crucial to this.

An assessment support pack is available for one Unit of this qualification.

Group Award code: GG1V 47 (28 SCQF credit points)


The PDA in Trade Union Organising for Equality at SCQF level 7 consists of three mandatory Units.

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