Level 3 Diploma in Design

Level 3 Diploma in Design

SQA code: GK3457
Ofqual code: 601/5158/4
Total Qualification Time: 489
Guided Learning Hours: 288
Credit value: 49

The qualification will develop knowledge and skills in areas such as researching a design concept, writing and interpreting a design brief, and following the design process. It includes the concepts and techniques used in branding, developing and extending critical and creative thinking skills, and collaborating in a creative process. Market research, presentations and budges are also covered.

This qualification has been developed in partnership with Creative & Cultural Skills to ensure it meets the needs of the industry.

It may be available through employers, training providers and colleges in England.

Qualification rationale and objectives

Rationale and purpose of this qualification

This qualification is aimed at those who are in work and are looking for recognition of their prior learning and experience.

Its primary purpose is to confirm the learner’s occupational competence as a desktop publishing assistant, technical illustrator or graphic designer/product designer. As a work-related, competence-based qualification it provides confirmation to employers, industry managers and card schemes that the learner has the skills and knowledge needed to meet the nationally recognised standard to carry out the role.

Learners who achieve this qualification can use it to gain employment, to progress in the industry, or to work towards another qualification (see Progression).


The qualification is designed to meet the following objectives:

  • preparing learners to progress to another qualification
  • supporting a role in the workplace
  • confirming knowledge, understanding and skills
  • enabling professional membership
  • providing access to a relevant card scheme
  • enabling learners to gain the relevant licence to practice

What does this qualification cover?

As this is a competence-based qualification, learners will be acquiring the knowledge and skills required through either on-the-job experience or in a learning environment.

To achieve the whole qualification, learners need a minimum of 49 credits. They must complete 10 mandatory units plus 5 optional units from the qualification structure.

Who is this qualification for?

This qualification is suitable for:

  • learners in employment who wish to enhance their career prospects
  • apprentices
  • school leavers
  • adults returning to education

It is mainly taken by individuals employed as:

  • a junior graphic designer
  • a junior product designer
  • an assistant copywriter
  • a desktop publisher
  • a technical illustrator


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


This qualification is a mandatory component in the Level 3 Design Apprenticeship in England (as detailed in SASE).

What approvals are needed?


Centres must 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.

Where can you take this course

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualification structure

The qualification requires the learner to complete 10 mandatory units (credit value 29) and 5 optional units (credit value 20).

Please refer to the qualification structure (114 KB) for more information.

Unit specifications

Unit specifications for this qualification are available on the Unit search.

How to assess

Ongoing course assessment will apply. Each unit specification gives detailed information on the assessment criteria, assessment (evidence) requirements and guidance on instruments of assessment for the unit.

The qualification is assessed by completing a portfolio of evidence which details what the learner has completed at work. This can be gathered through observation, professional discussion, witness testimony or supporting documentary evidence. The assessor can work alongside the learner to confirm that they have met the requirements of the qualification and that they are therefore competent in their role.

The assessment process will ensure that the learner can complete the tasks that they have been directed to undertake and that they can interpret the instructions correctly. They will demonstrate that they can select the appropriate resources for the tasks and can complete them within the given timescales and specifications.

Learner portfolio

Assessment strategy/principle

Additional information / useful links