HNC Sustainable Resource Management

HNC Sustainable Resource Management

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

The HNC in Sustainable Resource Management at SCQF level 7 develops knowledge and skills in areas such as waste policy and legislation, materials and resources, and operational practice. It will appeal to individuals working in the waste management, recycling and resource recovery industry.

This HNC reflects the broad nature of the organisations situated within the waste management and sustainable resource management sector. Learners will gain:

  • an understanding of the current policy and legislative framework
  • an understanding of the quality standards and how quality management systems operate
  • an understanding of the value and uses of materials and resources within a sustainable economy and society
  • an understanding of the fundamental science and technology which may be applied

This qualification is available through colleges and training providers. Typically, an HNC takes one year to complete and an HND takes two years.

Why deliver this qualification

The HNC Sustainable Resource Management supports the Scottish Government's 'Scotland's Zero Waste Plan'.

Research undertaken and supported by Energy and Utility Skills (EUSkills), the Sector Skills Council for the sustainable resource management sector, indicates that the waste and recycling industry is undergoing dynamic and sustained change. This is impacting upon the utilisation of new technologies and automation of processes. Stakeholders accept that there is an urgent need to up-skill the workforce and to encourage new entrants into the industry.  

The Unit-based structure supports flexibility. A Unit is typically 40 hours of timetabled learning.

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

Who does this qualification suit

The HNC Sustainable Resource Management is suitable for a wide range of learners including:

  • school leavers
  • adult returners to education
  • individuals in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects, particularly those working in the waste management, recycling and the resource recovery industry


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

  • any two relevant National Courses at SCQF level 5
  • Certificate - Principles of Sustainable Resource Management at SCQF level 5
  • SVQs at SCQF Level 5:
    • Frontline Environmental Services
    • Waste Operations: Waste Collection Driver
    • Waste Operations: Waste Collection Operative
    • Waste Operations: Waste Site Operative
    • Waste Operations: Waste Team Leader
    • Waste Operations: Waste Weighbridge Operative
  • Chartered institution of Wastes Management Waste Awareness Certificate
  • Certificate - Principles of Sustainable Resource Management at SCQF Level 6
  • SVQ at SCQF Level 6 in Waste Supervisory Management
  • Diplomas at SCQF Level 7:
    • Waste Management Operations: Managing Physical and Chemical Treatment - Hazardous Waste
    • Waste Management Operations: Managing Physical and Chemical Treatment - Non-Hazardous Waste
    • Waste Management Operations: Managing Transfer - Hazardous Waste
    • Waste Management Operations: Managing Transfer - Non-Hazardous Waste
  • Mature learners with suitable relevant work experience may be accepted without formal qualifications.
  • For learners for whom English is an additional language, it is recommended that they possess SQA English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) at an appropriate level.

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 the HNC Sustainable Resource Management can progress to SCQF level 8 programmes in, for example:

  • Business and Environment
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Environmental Biology
  • Environmental Management
  • Environmental Science
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Sustainable Development
  • Waste Management

Articulation into SCQF level 8 programmes is at the discretion of the awarding institution.

Higher National qualifications also provide the knowledge and understanding required for related Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs).


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.

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Where can you take this course?

Qualification Structure

HNC Sustainable Resource Management

Group Award code: GJ0T 15 (96 SCQF credit points)

HNC Sustainable Resource Management at SCQF level 7 consists of five mandatory Units (72 SCQF credit points) and two/three optional Units (24 SCQF credit points).

Group Award Specification