NPA Business Skills

NPA Business Skills

National Progression Awards (NPAs) assess a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas, linked to National Occupational Standards. The NPA in Business Skills at SCQF level 6 has been designed to provide learners with the fundamental knowledge and skills needed for the study of business, and allows for progression to other business and/or IT-related programmes in the further and higher education sectors, as well as providing progression within or to employment.

This NPA develops knowledge and understanding of the features and characteristics of small, medium and large organisations and issues facing businesses today. It will help develop learners’ oral, written and evaluation abilities and core skills such as problem solving and planning, and working with others. It will develop learners’ ICT skills, and enable them to be more confident in the use of software application packages for administrative and business purposes.

The NPA covers areas including understanding business, management of people and finance, working with IT software, including word processing and presenting information and spreadsheet and database, contemporary business issues and work placement.

The NPA was specifically developed to meet the knowledge component of the SCQF level 6 Foundation Apprenticeship in Business Skills.

The qualification is available through schools and colleges — usually via a school-college partnership.

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) Skills CFA. Industry has recognised that the qualification fits the job.

The NPA in Business Skills 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 consists of mandatory Units only. The Units can slot into school or school/college partnership timetables. The size of Unit also supports flexibility - they are a more 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 or University application personal statement 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

E-assessment may be appropriate for some assessments in the Units comprising this award. E-assessment supports flexibility and saves time and other resources. For example, assessment is on-demand using pre-verified questions and they can be accessed 24/7. In addition, marking is instantaneous and there is instant feedback for formative questions.

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:

  • full-time (eg as a fast-track into full a NC or HN programme)
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • open and distance learning
  • infill into existing classes
  • evening provision

Who does this qualification suit

The NPA is suitable for:

  • learners who are at school or 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 is at the discretion of the centre. However, it is recommended for learners entering the SCQF level 6 award to have completed some training at level 5.


The level 6 award could provide progression to:

  • SCQF/QCF level 7 to level 8
  • an HNC/HND in Business or related area
  • a PDA in Information Technology in Business
  • a PDA in Office Administration
  • a PDA in Office Management and Information Technology
  • an SVQ in Business and Administration at SVQ level 3
  • employment in the Business sector


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 (510 KB).

How to assess

Assessment of this award will be a combination of practical and knowledge assessments under closed- and open-book assessment conditions. It is recommended that centres refer to the assessment and Evidence Requirements for each Unit.

Assessment support packs (ASPs) are available for this qualification.

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

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualifications structure

Group Award code: GL8H 46 (36 SCQF credit points)

The NPA in Business Skills at SCQF level 6 consists of 6 mandatory Units (36 SCQF credit points).

National Progression Award (NPA) Business Skills (403 KB)

Foundation Apprenticeship

This NPA is a mandatory component in the SCQF level 6 Foundation Apprenticeship in Business Skills.

SQA also offers the following components of this Apprenticeship:

  • a part of the (GK6Y 23) SVQ in Business and Administration, that is the following units:
Unit Title SCQF 6
Plan how to manage and improve own performance in a Business Environment FD9Y 04
Communicate in a business environment FE02 04
Support other people to work in a business environment FE04 04
Design and produce documents in a business environment FE0X 04