NPA Health and Social Care: Skills for Practice

NPA Health and Social Care: Skills for Practice

National Progression Awards (NPAs) assess a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas, linked to National Occupational Standards. The NPA in Health and Social Care: Skills for Practice at SCQF level 6 introduces learners to techniques that are important in the Health and Social Care sector. Areas covered include a person centred approach to care, safe practice in care and practical caring skills.

This NPA develops knowledge and understanding of; practical, technical and transferable skills; oral, written and evaluation abilities; resource management; problem solving and planning; organisational and communication skills.

The qualification is available through employers, colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

NPAs are trusted because they are developed by practitioners from industry and are supported by the relevant sector skills council (SSC). Industry has recognised that the qualification fits the job.

The NPA in Health and Social Care: Skills for Practice at SCQF level 6 offers current, fit for purpose, bite-sized chunks of learning that are straightforward for centres to adopt and for learners to study. New skills can be gained quickly and cost effectively.

The framework of Units enables centres to meet local needs and they are a manageable size for employee training.    

NPAs provide opportunities for partnership delivery that can provide benefits for partners and increase options for learners.

NPAs can add value and breadth to a CV for a learner by developing vocational skills.

This NPA covers SCQF level 6, allowing clear progression and development routes to:

  • higher level education
  • to employment

This NPA provides opportunities to develop:

  • Core Skills (which underpin all National Certificates)
  • transferable skills
  • employability skills

The NPA could be offered in one of the following modes:

  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • open and distance learning
  • infill into existing classes

Who does this qualification suit

The NPA is suitable for:

  • learners who may have just left school
  • mature candidates who may have been out of education for a long period of time
  • individuals who are currently in employment and wish to obtain a formal qualification
  • those who are looking to access HN programmes
  • learners who want to study at a pace and style that they determine
  • employees who want to develop their careers
  • individuals who are seeking national recognition of their achievements
  • employers who wish their employees to take part in short continuing professional development courses


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:

  • NQ course or relevant Units in English or communication at SCQF level 5
  • Standard Grade or national course or Units in a social subject at SCQF level 5
  • Standard Grade or national course or Units in a science subject at SCQF level 5
  • Standard Grade or national course or Units in Social and Vocational Studies at SCQF level 5
  • Work experience in Health and Social Care

Candidates wishing to undertake this award should be able to demonstrate effective communication and interpersonal skills. They should be able to use these skills to give an account of their experiences, reflect on them and make valid conclusions.


The level 6 award could provide progression to:

  • SCQF level 7
  • an HNC/HND in Social Services or Childhood Practice
  • an SVQ in the Social Services and Healthcare sector
  • employment in the Health and Social Care sector, perhaps as a Health Care/Social Care Support Worker


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.

How to assess

Assessment of this award will be a combination of practical and knowledge assessments using reflective logs, skills passport and learning contracts. It is recommended that centres refer to the assessment and Evidence Requirements for each Unit.

The delivery of the award is at the individual centre's discretion.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

Group Award code: GL09 46 (24 SCQF credit points)

The NPA Health and Social Care: Skills for Practice at SCQF level 6 consists of 3 mandatory Units (8 SCQF credit points).

NPA Health and Social Care (808 KB)