Built Environment (SCQF Level 5) Academy Programme

What is special about this course?

SIC Schools Service and Shetland UHI work in partnership to deliver exciting and worthwhile opportunities for Secondary 5 and 6 pupils to take their first steps into a career in construction.

The National Certificate (NC) in Built Environment provides a foundation course that will help you progress towards a career in the construction industry, introducing you to the knowledge and skills required to work as a technician.

Progression routes may include a modern apprenticeship and / or study at HNC level.

Entry requirements

You should be in S5 with three N5 qualifications (or equivalent), preferably with Maths, English and a Science or Technical subject.

Modules include:

  • Domestic Building Services
  • Groundworks and Substructure
  • Superstructure and Finishes
  • Computer Aided Draughting
  • Construction Calculations
  • Construction Materials
  • Construction Site Surveying
  • Health and Safety in the Construction Industry
  • Built Environment Project
  • Sustainable Design for Architecture

How will I study my course?

  • Part Time
  • Work based

You will study part-time, which involves attendance at college as well as work experience. You will also study three school subjects in S5 and in S6. As you will be working in the summer you should have some free periods incorporated into your school timetable.

When will I be at college?

Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1.30pm - 3.45pm.
Your school will timetable your subjects to make sure you don’t miss school classes.

How do I get to college?

Transport arrangements from school will be made for you, using public transport where possible to return home or to the hostel as applicable. There will be no charge to you for this.

Work Experience

As part of this free programme, you will also be linked to a workplace mentor, who will support you as you develop your skills and plan for your future career. 

Where might I be working?

Opportunities are available in both the public and private construction sector. You will either be placed with a local construction-based company or with a Shetland Islands Council department, i.e. Estates Management. The placements are available in a range of locations depending on current projects.

What type of tasks might I be asked to do?

Depending on placement, you could either be assisting with the design process of a new project, developing plans, providing costings, desktop surveys or if you are site based you will be assisting with the technical processes surveying and setting out site, monitoring work schedules and ensuring quality standards of work are followed. 

How long will my course last?

2 Year

Part-time study over two years.

Where can I study my course?

    • Lerwick Campus
    • Employers Premises

Start date



For the latest information on fees please see our fees policy.

What can I do on completion of my course?

The NC Built Environment programme provides a great start for a wide variety of construction-based career options these include Architectural technician, Surveyor, Building Technician, Civil Engineer, Planning Officer, as well as Trade Craftsperson i.e., Joiner.

Is there more information available online?

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The course interested me a lot and caught my eye. There is a good teaching style and very nice lecturers.

Josh Tulloch

I would like to have a career in construction as the course has given me a good introduction and better understanding of the built environment. I would say that anybody considering applying for a Foundation Apprenticeship or Academy programme should go for it! I am glad I chose to do it and have really enjoyed the experience.

Luca Watt

Apply for Built Environment (SCQF Level 5) Academy Programme

I want to start in 2024/25

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI Shetland. UHI Shetland operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.