Qualifications explained


We offer a wide range of different courses, all at various levels to suit your needs. All courses have either progression routes to further education or links to employment.

Our students find their own path and can access and leave our courses at many levels to fit around other commitments; it is their future and their choice.

Skills for Work/Foundation Apprenticeships

These qualifications are primarily offered to school pupils from S3 upwards, who would like to get some hands on experience in a variety of fields, and experience life at College while still at school. Visit Schools to see what courses we offer, how to apply and more.

Modern Apprentices

Modern Apprenticeships are available for all ages from 16+ and are funded by Skills Development Scotland. Funding levels vary according to age and occupational areas with the highest level reserved for 16-19 year olds. The funding is used to pay for the training cost and where there is an imbalance, the employer will be expected to meet the difference. Some of the training elements are undertaken off island for which SDS makes additional funding available.

Shetland UHI provides opportunities for Modern Apprenticeships for Shetland residents in a variety of disciplines. 

Find out more about Apprenticeships here.

NC and NQ Qualifications

SCQF Levels 1-6

SQA NC and NQ qualifications are further education qualifications that are available at a range of levels. These courses are made up of a variety of units that fit together to make a cohesive programme of study that gives you an excellent stepping-stone to progress to higher education. NC and NQs also include a number of Core Skills which can help you gain essential skills for the job market.


SCQF Level 7-8

HNC and HND level study provide excellent progression routes to degree level courses and allow you to gain valuable grounding in a particular area before undertaking a degree. HNC and HNDs are also recognised and valued by employers.

An HNC is generally made up of 12-15 credits, and usually will be completed in one year

An HND is generally made up of 30 credits, and normally takes two years to complete.


We offer degree courses  from undergraduate through to postgraduate and masters level study, in a wide range of subjects. You can enrol directly onto them, or progress up from NC/NQ level.

There are a number of flexible learning options which means you can study a wide range of degree level subjects while still in Shetland.


Scottish Vocational Qualifications are workplace-based qualifications that you can undertake while working. They can be undertaken for a wide number of industries, and normally will be undertaken while you do your day-to-day job. People doing SVQs will collect evidence from their work, and use that to achieve their SVQ which shows their competency at that particular role.

Industry and Vocational Qualifications

For a number of industries, vocational qualifications are highly important as part of continuing professional development, enhancing skills and providing evidence of competency for legislative purposes.

Our strong industry links ensure our students gain the skills, qualifications and confidence needed to thrive in the modern workplace.