HNC Social Services, formerly known as HNC Social Care, is for those interested in a career in social care or those already employed within a care setting who may wish to undertake a formal qualification. It involves both practical and theoretical work and will include online delivery supported by face-to-face classroom support. You will undertake a work experience placement during the course.

This course meets the criteria for Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration as a care practitioner. Placements can be in a range of settings, and physically demanding, fitness to practice will be discussed before any placement commences.


  • This is a 12-credit group award with most of the units applied to work experience and placements. If you are a full-time student, placements will be arranged by the College to ensure that you can be supported in the application of theory and gain experience to evidence competency in the three work-based SVQ units integral to the course.
  • Those already in suitable employment will utilise their work setting to achieve these practice-based units.
  • This course meets the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) requirements for registration for a variety of posts in the health and social care sector.
  •  For those working in or considering a career in residential child care this, plus five other SVQ units, meets requirements (due to change soon).
  • Other skills developed include problem solving, moving and handling techniques, dealing with conflict and communication skills.
  • One year full-time
  • Two years part time 
  • Care in contemporary society
  • Lifespan development
  • Care practice
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Graded Unit
  • Three SVQ units at SCQF Level 7
  • Optional units

One of the following:

  • 2 Highers at Grade C or above, one of which should be English
  • Foundation Apprenticeship: Social Services and Healthcare SCQF Level 6 plus Higher English at Grade C or above
  • Foundation Apprenticeship: Social Services: Children and Young People SCQF Level 6 plus Higher English at Grade C or above
  • A qualification at SCQF Level 6 in a related subject such as Social/Health Care, Humanities, or Social Sciences
  • Evidence of some work/experience in the care sector
  • Evidence that you can meet the academic requirements of SCQF Level 7 with the submission of a written piece at information session if you do not meet any of the above and are looking for a change of career

  • Some placements have a minimum age requirement of 18 years. 
  • If you do not hold the formal qualifications required, we may consider paid or voluntary experience in a formal care setting. Someone from the College will be in touch to discuss your experience, and whether it is suitable for you to gain entry to the course.

  • HND: Additional Support Needs: Managing and Supporting the Services SCQF Level 8.
  • It is possible to progress on to a degree at university from this course - see our HE and Degree Pathways guide for more information.
  • Year two entry to BSc (Hons) Public Policy Sociology at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh (Graded Unit at B).
  • Social work degrees at university (some universities will also ask for an English, ICT and/or Numeracy or Maths qualification).
  • SVQ: Social Services and Healthcare SCQF Level 8 (while working).
  • May also be accepted for mental health nursing and midwifery.
  • Degrees in community learning and development.
  • Degrees in social sciences.
  • Care related services, for example residential schools, day-care facilities for the older adult and resource centres for adults with physical disabilities or learning difficulties.
  • Care home practitioner.
  • Housing support worker.
  • Various job roles in mental health, homelessness, and looked-after children in the statutory sector and third sector.
  • You are required to purchase stationery and textbooks at an approximate total value of £100 and have access to the internet and ICT equipment to complete online study and submit assessments.
  • Please note there may also be a cost for travel to work placement.
  • You may be required to take part in an informal conversation as part of the application process. This group/individual conversation may be an information session, a portfolio discussion, or a skills based exercise.
  • You will also require a PVG check through Disclosure Scotland.
  • There is a large commitment of time to a work placement.
  • Most placements have a minimum age requirement of 18 years.