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The Scottish Vocational Education Council & Business Administration

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SCOTVEC, the Scottish Vocational Education Council, working in partnership with all sectors of commerce and industry, is the national body in Scotland with responsibility for developing, awarding and accrediting vocational qualifications. Their vocational programs are suitable for people at all stages of their career, from school to postgraduate, and include the following levels:

  • Skill start
  • National Certificate
  • Scottish Vocational Qualification

  • Higher National Certificate
  • Higher National Diploma
Courses at all levels are unit based and advice is available on which modules to take to equip you for certain careers or for exemption from professional qualifications. For example, for a National Certificate program, general modules such as Communications Media Studies could be combined with specialist subjects such as Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations.

Levels of achievement in each module, and awards gained, will appear on each student's Record of Education and Training.

Selections of the 2700 modules are available at over 700 approved centers including colleges, schools and other training organizations. Modules can be studied on a full time, part time or distance/open learning basis, or through employers' training and development programs. In this flexible scheme, units can be accumulated over time, to suit individual preference or as part of a structured award. There are a number of different types of unit:
  • National Certificate Modules
  • Higher National Units
  • Workplace assessment Units
  • Industry Units (specific to an industry, organization or company).
Skill start

Skill start is a new two level SCOTVEC qualification designed for slower learners and to help people with no formal qualifications to improve their employment prospects. No prior educational qualifications are required.

Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ) SVQs, developed in liaison with industry and commerce, are built up from National Certificate Modules, Higher National Units, Workplace Assessment Units, Industry Units or a combination of these. This qualification, officially equivalent to the NVQ, is recognized throughout the UK and the EC. Over 200 awards are available so far.

Higher National Certificate in Business Administration

This program is aimed at trainee executives, and is recognized by professional bodies. It takes two years part time or one year full time to complete, and, in addition to a range of business subjects, one or two options are taken from a choice of Advertising, Marketing, Marketing Research, Information Systems, Exporting, Modern Language and Distribution.

Higher National Diploma in Business Administration

Covering similar subjects to the HNC, only in more depth, this program can be taken as a two year full time course or a three year sandwich course. Two of the options from the above list must be studied, and a project based on one of these is undertaken in the second year.

In addition to the Higher National Certificate or Diploma in Marketing at the Central College of Commerce, there are also Higher National Diplomas in Business Administration and Languages, in Communication Studies and in Industrial Administration which can include marketing topics.

Professional Development Awards

SCOTVEC Professional Development Awards, suitable for those at postgraduate or post experience level who want to develop their career or make a career change, are available in a wide variety of occupational areas at four levels:
  • Certificate
  • Advanced Certificate
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
The Certificate Award is built up from a certain number of National Certificate Modules, some of which are relevant to marketing. Each module is a separate learning unit covering a particular topic and consisting of about 40 hours of study.

The Advanced Certificate is designed to provide further development of competence and to provide abridge to HNCs and HNDs. Advanced Certificates usually consist of between 6 and 12 Higher National Unit credits.

The Diploma is a qualification at HNC or HND level and normally consists of 10 or more Higher National Unit credits. A Diploma in Management with Marketing is available for recent graduates or those with appropriate management experience who wish to progress to a senior management position.

The highest level, the Advanced Diploma qualification, is designed for those who already have an HND in the same discipline, and it can lead to a Master's degree or equivalent. It usually consists of more than 12 Higher National Unit credits.

CAM Foundation Courses

CAM, the Communication, Advertising and Marketing Education Foundation Limited, is an educational charity, originally formed from the educational sections of the Advertising Association, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising and the Institute of Public Relations. As the industry's examining body, it is supported by 12 organizations in the communications field. Its Certificates and Diplomas are nationally recognized qualifications.

CAM Certificate in Communication Studies

The Certificate covers six compulsory subjects which may be taken in any order. These subjects are:
  • Marketing
  • Advertising
  • Public Relations
  • Media
  • Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing
  • Research and Behavioral Studies
Students with relevant qualifications at certificate, diploma or degree level, or senior practitioners with at least seven years' relevant experience, may gain exemption from the Certificate examinations. Partial exemptions on a subject by subject basis are also considered. Apply to the CAM Foundation Registrar for further details. The Certificate normally needs two years' part time study, with at least 30 hours' study for each syllabus. Exams take place each June and November.

CAM Diploma

For a CAM Diploma in Public Relations or Advertising, candidates study the compulsory option Management and Strategy plus two other related topics from:
  • Public Relations - Management
  • Public Relations - Practice
  • Advertising - Consumer
  • Advertising Business to Business
  • Advertising International
Study for the Diploma usually takes one year part time, and involves much case study work. Exams are held in June each year. It is possible to gain an exemption from one of the two specialism papers (not the compulsory Management and Strategy paper), if you hold an appropriate degree or postgraduate qualification.

A CAM Sales Promotion Diploma is awarded to those who complete the Management and Strategy exam as well as the Institute of Sales Promotion Diploma. Similarly, a CAM Direct Marketing Diploma is awarded to those who pass the British Direct Marketing Association Diploma in addition to the CAM Management and Strategy option.


You can choose how many subjects to study at one time, but most students take three subjects a year. There are no regulations about methods of study, and you can choose from:
  • Correspondence courses
  • Part time day or evening classes at a local college
  • Full time studies
  • Private studies
A list of colleges and distance learning organizations is available from the CAM Foundation.

Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) Courses

The Chartered Institute of Marketing sponsors an educational scheme of professional study in marketing based on a combination of academic attainment and practical understanding of marketing activities. At the time of writing, the CIM is reconsidering the structure of its course program, so it would be advisable to contact the Institute for up to the minute information.

Certificate of Marketing

The Certificate is a qualification in itself. The two year part time course covers the following subjects, which must all be successfully completed:
  • Fundamentals of Marketing
  • Principles and Practice of Selling
  • Economics
  • Statistics (Quantitative Studies)
  • Business Law
  • Behavioral Aspects
  • Financial Aspects of Marketing
The additional subject, Practice of Sales Management, leads to the award of the Certificate in Sales Management, while the additional subject Practice of Marketing leads to the award of the Certificate in Marketing. An award of the Certificate in Sales Management with Marketing can be obtained with the successful completion of both these additional subjects. Partial exemption may be available on a subject by subject basis.
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