National Progression Award in Scientific Technologies at SCQF level 6

National Progression Award in Scientific Technologies at SCQF level 6

National Progression Awards (NPAs) assess a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas, linked to National Occupational Standards. The NPA in Scientific Technologies at SCQF level 6 introduces learners to the knowledge and skills that are important in science-based industries.

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

This qualification covers areas such as experimental procedures, laboratory safety, fundamental chemistry, and mathematics for science.

The qualification is available through schools, 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) Cogent Skills.  Industry has recognised that the qualification fits the job.

The NPA in Scientific Technologies 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 mandatory units enables centres to tailor their offer to meet local needs while the size of unit also supports flexibility — units can slot into school timetables; and 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 for a learner by developing vocational skills.

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

  • higher level education
  • employment

This NPA provides opportunities to develop:

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

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

  • full-time
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • 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 individuals 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 SCQF level 5.

Foundation Apprenticeship

This NPA is a mandatory component in the SCQF level 6 Foundation Apprenticeship in Scientific Technologies.

SQA also offers the following components of this Foundation Apprenticeship:


Unit title

FY9W 04

Follow Health and Safety Procedures for Scientific or Technical Activities

H00C 04

Carry Out Simple Scientific or Technical Tests Using Manual Equipment 

H00J 04

Prepare Compounds and Solutions for Scientific or Technical Use


The SCQF level 6 award could provide progression to:

  • an HNC/HND in Applied Sciences/Applied Biological Sciences/Applied Chemical Sciences or related area
  • a Modern Apprenticeship in Life Science and Related Science Industries
  • a Technical Apprenticeship in Life Science and Related Science Industries
  • employment in the science sector, perhaps as a laboratory assistant or a laboratory technician


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.

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 performance criteria for each unit.

Assessment support packs are available for this qualification.

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

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

Group award code: GN13 46 (24 SCQF credit points)

Group award specification for NPA in Scientific Technologies at SCQF level 6 GN13 46 (377 KB)

The NPA in Scientific Technologies at SCQF level 6 consists of four mandatory units (24 SCQF credit points). 

Qualifications Support Team (QST) - Action Grids

Qualifications Support Team (QST) - Action Grids