PDA Approaches to Trauma Informed Practice SCQF level 7

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

The PDA in Approaches to Trauma Informed Practice at SCQF level 7 enables learners to gain a knowledge and understanding of trauma and the causes and impact of trauma on the individual. It underlines the importance of being an informed practitioner when supporting individuals affected by trauma.

This qualification covers an introduction to trauma, childhood trauma, and therapeutic and organisational approaches to trauma.

This PDA is available through colleges, training providers and some employers. 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.

The PDA in Approaches to Trauma Informed Practice at SCQF level 7 has been developed in partnership with employers and industry.

It will help employers meet skills gaps and provide continuing professional development for staff. Learners will gain knowledge and skills needed for progression in the workplace.

The aims of the PDA are to provide a qualification that enables learners to develop an understanding of trauma’s links to socio-economic contexts and individual vulnerabilities, and its impacts on health and social care practices.

The target audience is those in work, or seeking employment, who require a specific skill set.


Entry to this qualification is at the discretion of the centre. The following information on prior knowledge, skills, experience or qualifications has been provided as guidance only.

Learners would benefit from having:

  • an SQCF qualification at level 6 or equivalent
  • good communication skills
  • an understanding of the values essential in the delivery of care

Communication skills may be demonstrated through achievement of certificated courses, Core Skills Communication at Higher level, Higher English or other Communication Units at SCQF level 5 or 6. Alternatively, applicants may be deemed to be at the appropriate level by a reference preferably from employers and/or through verbal and/or written evidence.

In order to be able to fully participate in the course work it is expected that applicants have some experience of care work and of supporting those experiencing, or who have experienced, trauma. This work can be either paid or voluntary.

This qualification is for professionals who either work directly alongside children, young people or adults who may be experiencing the impact of trauma, or who are supporting professionals or carers who are caring for people who may have experienced trauma.

There are no articulation agreements attached to this award. For those who wish to undertake further study it may be considered as an entry into a related course of study at college.

Centres with devolved authority for approval should use their own internal approval process.

Centres without devolved authority 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 assessment strategy.

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

Ongoing course assessment will apply.

Each unit is assessed separately.

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

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

Group award code: GT6X 47 (32 SCQF credit points)


The PDA in Approaches to Trauma Informed Practice at SCQF level 7 consists of four mandatory units.