PDA Forestry SCQF level 7

Professional Development Awards (PDAs) extend or broaden professional or vocational skills and are linked to National Occupational Standards. The PDA in Forestry at SCQF level 7 covers the following specialist skills/high-level transferable skills:

  • forestry science
  • forest mensuration and thinning control
  • health and safety and other relevant legislation

This qualification 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 Forestry at SCQF level 7 has been developed in partnership with employers and the forestry industry to ensure its suitability for the sector.

It will help employers to meet skills gaps and to provide continuing professional development for staff, while learners will gain the knowledge and skills needed for progression in the workplace. Completion of the PDA would allow articulation to membership of the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) at the appropriate level.

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.

This PDA provides progression routes to further study (see Progression).

The target audience is those in work, or seeking employment, who require a specific skillset.


Entry is at the discretion of the centre. Learners do not need to have formal relevant qualifications to enter this PDA. Good communication and problem solving skills are required for entry, and current experience within a forestry setting would be advantageous.

The units in the PDA have been mapped against the National Occupational Standards for Trees and Timber.

Learners would have the opportunity of progressing to a full HN qualification or SVQ in Forestry/Arboriculture at level 7 or 8. Currently, students progress on to the BSc Sustainable Forest Management, soon to be revalidated into the BSc Forest Management (Hons).

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.

Each individual unit specification gives detailed information on the evidence requirements and approaches to assessment for each unit.

Each unit is assessed separately.

Assessment will allow candidates to enhance their own practice.

Group award code: GN66 47 (56 SCQF credit points).

The PDA in Forestry at SCQF level 7 consists of three mandatory units and one optional unit.