Qualifications in Scotland

This section is a guide to what qualifications you could deliver. The information on this page is for Scotland – see equivalent info for England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. A section with a glossary and background info follows the list of qualifications.

To give a quick example, see this video of Shane Carey of Reprezent, talking about what qualifications they offer.

Courses and qualifications

There are many courses which community radio stations can, and do, effectively deliver, using radio to develop a range of skills – not only media and broadcasting skills but others such as employability. Here in this toolkit we have identified a range of courses – some radio specific and others which can use radio to meet the outcomes. We have looked at courses which can be delivered within a range of budgets, and which have different requirements for delivery.

A range of subjects could be considered by community radio stations, including:

  • Radio
  • Creative & Media
  • Employability
  • Community work
  • IT (or ICT) Skills
  • ESOL (or ESOL Skills for Life)


When choosing a qualification, you will need to consider these things – from yours and your learners’ perspective:

  • Who are the learners, and what do they need?
  • Is the qualification suitable for the learner’s age, and level?
  • Are there any entry requirements for this course?
  • What is the duration of the course?
  • What method of assessment will need to be used?
  • Do I have the resources, space, trainers, etc I need to deliver the course?


In listing Qualifications here, we will list the SCQF credit points of the course. These are different from the SQA credits. The SCQF credit points tell you the size of the unit and how long it will take. One SCQF point is equal to approx. 10 hours of learning – though this is only a guide.

Also, most of these qualifications are level 6 and below, which may be the more accessible options for community radio stations. Above this is college and university level – some stations may have the capacity to deliver these higher level qualifications.


Radio specific Courses

These courses are designed to help develop a career in the radio industry. There may be specific entry requirements for some of the higher level courses.  There are different qualifications available to suit the needs of you and your learners,


Name of course Learning Hours (approx.) Credits Level Course brief
Media: Radio Journalism 60 6 SCQF credit points at SCQF Level 5 (1 SQA credit at Intermediate 2) Research, Plan and Produce a short news bulletin
NPA in Radio Broadcasting 240 24 SCQF credit points at SCQF Level 5
SQA Credit 4
Interviewing, presenting and journalism plus optional unit
Media: Radio Feature Production 60 6 SCQF credit points at SCQF Level 6 (1 SQA Credit at Higher) Analyse Radio feature program and produce a feature program of your own
Radio Music Program Production 60 6 SCQF credit point at SCQF Level 5 (SQA Credit 1 at Intermediate 2) Analyse radio music programs, understand scheduling policy and licensing and create your own radio music programme
Media: Presenting for Radio and Television 60 6 SCQF credit points at SCQF Level 5 (SQA credit at Intermediate 2) Produce and present programs on radio and TV and evaluate those programmes
Media: Making a Radio Program 60 6 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 5 (1 SQA credit at Intermediate 2) Understand equipment used to create speech-based radio programs then produce, record and edit your own programme
Media: Radio Interviewing 60 6 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 6 (1 SQA credit at Higher) Understand, plan and carry out a radio interview in the studio and in a location
City & Guilds Level 1 Award in ‘Employability and Personal Development’ 57-72 9 1
City & Guilds Level 1 Award in ‘Personal Development and Contributing to the Community’ 56-71 9 1
City & Guilds Level 1 Certificate in ‘Personal Development and Contributing to the Community’ 91-119 15 1
Arts Award (Bronze) 40 (approx.) 1
Arts Award (Silver) 60 (approx.) 2 2 Units: 1) arts practice and 2) arts leadership


Life skills courses

Life Skills and employability qualifications support the development of personal skills for working, learning and living, and provide a useful base for further learning. Life Skills courses help with everyday activities, such as communicating, parenting, or healthy eating, while other courses cover work and employability skills, and can support with seeking employment and building a CV. The content of these courses allow for radio to be used as a medium through which learning outcomes can be achieved, and provide an innovative approach which other training providers may not offer.


City & Guilds Award/Certificate/Diploma in ‘Employability and Personal Development’

There are a variety of City & Guilds ‘employability and personal development’ qualifications at different levels.

Eg. Level 1 Award

Credits: 9

Guided Learning Hours: 57 – 72 (dependent upon units chosen)

The level 1 award in Employability and personal development is suitable for learners aged 14+. It is put together by choosing from a list of units covering a range of subjects, finding the right units suitable for your group and combining these to give the right credit value for an award. These courses are great to use with communities and hard to reach groups.




City & Guilds Award/Certificate in ‘Personal Development and Contributing to the Community’

Both Award and Certificate are available at either of two levels: Entry level 3 or Level 1

All are on the QCF (thus funded through QCF funding structures)


Qualification type/level Credits Guided Learning Hours
Award (either Entry 3 or Level 1) 9 56 – 71
Certificate (either Entry 3 or Level 1) 15 91 – 119





Courses specifically for young people and links to national curriculum

Radio projects and courses can be planned to meet key learning outcomes which are mentioned within the national curriculum across a variety of subjects. Planning lessons which clearly show how the student’s participation meets these learning outcomes can support and strengthen the offer of working in partnership within schools. Offering courses designed to support with the development of skills in English or Media Studies is a good place to start – but your potential offer need not be limited to these. There are also awards designed specifically for young people which can be used in community radio.


Arts Award

Arts Award can be based around any arts or media activity, and can be completed in a wide variety of settings – like youth clubs, arts centres, schools, colleges, theatres or community groups. There are no entry requirements, or time limit for completing the award, Arts Award can be suitable for young people aged 5 – 25 years.  In order to deliver arts award you will need to attend the training days linked to the qualification you would like to deliver.

Arts Award Levels:

Arts Award Levels: Explore is at pre GCSE level, Bronze and Silver Arts Awards are at the same standard and therefore have the same level of difficulty as GCSE’s but are smaller in size.  The Gold Award is at the same standard as A-levels but is the size of half an AS level. See level comparison chart at: http://www.artsaward.org.uk/site/?id=2056


Bronze is available to young people aged 11 to 25

Young people plan their work with an adviser, and keep a record by creating their own Arts Award portfolio. This portfolio might be, for example, a folder, sketchbook, video diary or a website.


Silver Arts Award has been designed for young people aged 14 to 25.

Silver Arts Award, a Level 2 qualification, has two units – Unit 1: arts practice and Unit 2: arts leadership. Doing Silver involves achieving an arts challenge, reviewing arts events, researching artists and arts organisations, and delivering an arts leadership project with other people. Young people plan their work with an adviser and keep a record by creating their own Arts Award portfolio. Young people can pick their own style of portfolio – e.g. a diary, video, website blog, etc.



Other (life skills) qualifications for young people that could involve radio

Youth Achievement Awards

Saltire Awards

Prince’s Trust – Get Started Course



National Curriculum

Radio courses can be designed and offered to schools to meet the needs of key curriculum areas. A community radio station is a wealth of resources, potentially offering programmes to schools which support curriculum areas or offer enrichment activities to the pupils, and which can reciprocally generate income for the station. Radio-based work can be used to promote and develop key areas such as English Speaking and listening, Media Studies, Citizenship, etc.


Example: As part of the Connect:Transmit project, Bradford Community Broadcasting (BCB) worked with a local secondary school to fulfil the aims outlined in the Year 10 GCSE Media Studies syllabus. BCB worked with two cohorts of pupils to each produce a radio package and create a production portfolio that evidenced their learning process. The assessment of this work counted for thirty percent of the pupils’ GCSE Media Studies grade.


Individual units

In addition to, or as an alternative to, delivering full qualifications, you could deliver an individual unit of a qualification. This could be offered as a ‘standalone’ piece of learning, or as a component of a qualification which you deliver in partnership with another institution.


SVQ for IT users
Audio Software Level  1
2 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 4
Learning Hours approx. 20 Hours


SVQ for IT Users
Audio Software Level 2
3 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 5
Learning Hours approx. 30 Hours


SVQ for IT Users
Audio Software Level 3
4 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 6
Learning Hours approx. 40 Hours
Brief: Demonstrate ability to record and edit an audio sequence using software


SVQ for IT Users
Specialist Software 1
2 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 4
Learning Hours approx. 20 Hours
Brief: Select and use appropriate specialist software to carry out a data processing task


SVQ for IT Users
Using the Internet 1
3 SCQF credit points and SCQF level 4
Learning hours approx. 30 Hours


SVQ for IT Users
Using the Internet 2
4 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 5
Learning hours approx. 40 hours


SVQ for IT Users
Using the Internet 3
5 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 6
Learning hours approx. 50 hours
Brief: The ability to connect to, browse and search the internet safely and productively.


SVQ for IT Users
Word Processing Software 1


Creative Thinking and Goal Setting
6 SCQF credit points at SCQF level 5
Learning hours approx. 60 hours
Brief: Plan, create and evaluate a creative object


Core Skills
Communication (Community Radio could use radio training to complete this unit)
6 SCQF credit points and SCQF level 4 (CR could probably cater for levels 5 & 6 also)
Learning Hours approx. 40 Hour


Core Skills
Information and Communication Technology
6 SCQF point at SCQF level 2 (CR could probably deliver up to level 4 of Info and Com tech)
Learning Hours approx. 40 hours



Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Apprenticeships are work-based training programmes. The apprentice is an employee of the employer, and the training is usually provided by a training organisation. Some training providers will subcontract some or all of their training to another organisation.

The SDS run a new scheme called Modern Apprenticeships. Modern Apprenticeships give young people the opportunity to access secure industry-recognised qualifications while earning a wage. Employers (in our case community radio stations) can receive payments of up to £1,500 for sports or 2014 Commonwealth Games-related apprentices aged 16 to 19 through the ‘Commonwealth Games Skills Legacy’ to help towards the costs of employment and training. Employers can also receive payments for recruiting a person aged 16-24 who is a care leaver, ex-offender or young carer through the Employer Recruitment Incentive. Of particular interest to community radio stations is the Junior Researcher (Broadcasting) MA.


Apprenticeships are currently being restructured by the current government. The main changes underway are:

  • Employers are being placed in a more central position with regards setting standards, and specifying (and possibly creating new) qualifications for apprenticeships;
  • Funding is to be directed towards employers (not training providers);
  • Apprentices are to be supported to achieve Level 2 qualifications in English and Maths (as opposed to the current requirement of Level 1 qualifications);
  • Apprenticeships are proposed to be graded: as pass, merit, or distinction

Full details are still emerging, and it remains to be seen what offering apprenticeships will entail, in practice, for employers and training organisations.


Traineeships are a relatively new initiative, targeted at people without the entry requirements for apprenticeships, to gain skills to enable them to enter an apprenticeship or job. Traineeships:

  • last anything from six weeks to a maximum of six months
  • consist of a programme, set by the training provider and tailored to the trainee’s needs, including: work preparation training, English and maths support; and a work experience placement
  • are open to young people aged 16 – 18 and qualified below Level 3, OR are aged 19 – 23 and qualified below full Level 2.


National Apprenticeship Service has lots of information, including:

Apprenticeship toolkit by Creative Skillset: http://hire.creativeskillset.org/apprenticeships

Creative Skillset video on apprenticeships: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgRqEyWHlfs

Government paper on the future of apprenticeships, March 2013



Background info on qualifications

What is a qualification? A glossary of terms

A qualification is a recognition of a body of work completed by a learner, and accredited by an awarding body. A qualification is usually made up of discrete units, and every qualification will be of a particular type and at a particular educational level.

Units: Qualifications are made up of units of credit, which are designed to be flexible and transferable, and allow attainment in small ‘chunks’, or ‘bit by bit’, within and across awarding organisations. Some individual units of credit may be linked to more than one qualification.

Level: A qualification’s (or unit’s) level denotes the level of difficulty (as opposed to amount of work involved, or length of course). Levels are from Entry Level to Level 8.

Type: There are three types of qualification on the QCF framework (see ‘who’s who’ below): Award, Certificate, and Diploma. Qualifications carry a particular credit value. Thus, you can have a Level 1 Award, a Level 1 Certificate, a Level 2 Award, a Level 2 Certificate, etc.

Level and Type: There are a number of types of qualification on the SCQF Framework: National Courses, Awards, National Progression Awards, National Certificates, Higher Education Qualifications (inc. Diplomas), Professional Development Awards and SVQs. Levels are from Level 1 to Level 12. Each course or unit carries an SQA credit value and SCQF credit points.

Credit, or credit value: Every unit (and qualification) has a credit value – and different qualification levels require the learner to have earned a particular number of credits. An Award will require between 1 to 12 credits; a Certificate 13 – 36 credits; and a Diploma at least 37 credits. Credit value also gives an indication of how long it takes to complete a course – for SCQF qualifications, one SCQF credit usually takes around 10 hours of learning.

Guided Learner Hours (or GLH): The number of hours of direct contact time between the learner and the learning provider, as part of an accredited course. However, it may take the learner more time to prepare, study and complete the work involved in the course. GLH will usually be included by the provider in their information for learners. GLH is not so straight forward in Scotland – different qualifications have different specifics on how much learning needs to be face to face and how much needs to be self-learning. From experience, the more practical the course, the more face to face time it needs. Guidance can vary, and it is often left to the discretion of the learning centre – as long as you have trainee produced evidence that the trainee has demonstrated that they have sufficient knowledge and understanding.

Awarding body: The organisation that accredits the qualification – e.g. NCFE, OCR, AQA, NOCN, Pearson Edexcel; or, in Scotland, BIIAB, SQA, EDI, Pearsons Education Limited, Rockschool Limited, Royal Academy of Dance etc) http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/42358.2722.html. The awarding body oversees the qualification, sets learning outcomes, etc. Some SCQF qualifications are offered by more than one awarding body.

Learning centre/provider: This is the organisation that delivers the course – e.g., a college, a community radio station, etc. Training delivery organisations may need to become registered providers in order to deliver the course, or they can deliver a course in partnership with a separate accredited organisation which takes care of course administration.

Funding is sometimes attached to qualifications – see the section on funding.



Who’s who & what’s what: qualification frameworks and regulation:

QCF, or the Qualifications and Credit Framework, is a set of rules about qualification standards, which is in place in England, and Northern Ireland.

In Scotland, credit transfer rules are encompassed by the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). A good overview of the framework is at: http://www.scqf.org.uk/features/Framework.htm and info on changes underway is at: http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/files_ccc/readyreckoner.html

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is the organisation that regulates qualifications (except degree level courses) that use SCQF rules in Scotland. SQA Accreditation monitor awarding organisations and qualifications to make sure that standards are maintained.

BIS, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, is the UK government department for economic growth. The department invests in skills and education to promote trade, boost innovation and help people to start and grow a business.

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is a non-departmental public body that invests in skills and training in Scotland.

Money for SDS comes from the government through its budget and is not allocated by any specific government department though there are government ministries and directorates that deal with these issues – the Employability, Skills and Lifelong Learning Directorate and the Minister for Education and Lifelong learning.

More information on funding frameworks by country and age range are in the funding section.


Image: Scottish SCQF framework (Source: SCQF http://www.scqf.org.uk/features/Framework.htm )


Further information about qualification frameworks in UK can be found at https://www.gov.uk/what-different-qualification-levels-mean

A useful guide and chart, comparing qualifications across the different frameworks in the UK and Ireland is at: http://www.qaa.ac.uk/Publications/InformationAndGuidance/Documents/Quals_cross_boundaries.pdf