PDA Health and Social Care: Promoting Enhanced Professional Practice SCQF level 8

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

The PDA in Health and Social Care: Promoting Enhanced Professional Practice at SCQF level 8 is designed for generic and profession-specific health and social care support workers and will equip individuals with a range of knowledge, specialist skills and values to enable them to improve their professional practice.

This PDA covers areas such as Team Working in Care Settings, Leadership and Decision Making, Principles of Professional Practice and Quality Improvement: Audit in a Health or Social Care Setting.

It will provide learners with the knowledge and skills required to carry out their duties whilst working — supported through access to supervision throughout.

The award is at SCQF level 8 in order to take into account the critical evaluative, analytical and reflective abilities required as described by the career level 4 attributes of Skills for Health (2008) and the Employability Skills Matrix for Health level 4 (2013).

This qualification 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 Health and Social Care: Promoting Enhanced Practice at SCQF level 8 has been developed in partnership with employers and industry.

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

It can also be offered to people who are in training and who wish to gain employment in the sector.

The Unit-based structure aids timetable flexibility. Units are typically 40 hours of learning and they can be delivered on a full-time or part-time basis.

It is aimed at Health/Social Care Support Workers aspiring to advance their educational attainment to the recommended SCQF level 8 for posts at career framework level 4 (Skills for Health 2008, NES Toolkit — Health Care Support Worker — HCSW). The award also has potential application to paraprofessional roles within social care.


Entry to this qualification is at the discretion of the centre.

Learners would benefit from having attained the skills, knowledge and understanding required by one or more of the following or equivalent qualifications and/or experience:

  • an SCQF level 7 qualification such as a relevant HNC — eg HNC Care and Administrative Practice, HNC AHP Physiotherapy/Speech and Language Therapy/Radiography, HNC Social Care, HNC Occupational Therapy Support
  • other relevant previous qualification above SCQF level 7 or equivalent

Learners should be working at, or working towards, the role of an advanced support worker within health or social care. 

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.

Learners are expected to compile a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate they have met the knowledge and skills requirement for each Please Remove this sentence. Where learners experience a range of assessment methods, this can help them to develop different skills which can be transferable to work or further education.

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


Group Award code: GK6N 48 (32 SCQF credit points)

This Group Award is made up of four SQA Unit credits. It comprises 32 SCQF credit points of which 8 are at level 7 and 24 are at level 8.

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