The Practice Learning Qualifications (Social Services) were developed to replace the Practice Teaching Award and reflect the importance of practice learning throughout the workforce. Also known as the Practice Learning Qualification (PLQ) and the Professional Development Award in Practice Learning (Social Services), the qualifications play a significant role for many social service workers as part of their continuing professional development. Not only do these qualifications allow workers to gain recognition for their knowledge and skills, they can also be used to evidence post registration training and learning.

The qualifications are located within the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) and are staged at different levels to reflect the range of roles people undertake in supporting learning, not just of social work students, but also in the wider workforce.

Stage 2-level 9 is of particular value to individuals who are supporting the learning of others by supervising practice, mentoring or coaching and providing feedback on the learner's performance in the practice setting. This role may also involve the assessment of learners. This stage is rated at 40 credits and is the equivalent of SCQF level 9.

Stage 3-level 10 is of particular value to individuals who assume leadership roles in supporting, supervising and assessing the learning of others, including delivering practice learning curricula and group learning. This is particularly suitable for individuals who are intending to become practice educators with social work students. This stage is rated at 60 credits and is the equivalent of SCQF level 10.

Stage 4-level 11 is of particular value to individuals who are engaged in strategic planning and management of practice learning. PLQ(SS) at level 11 programmes are situated within an MSc framework offering a postgraduate certificate and individuals may then have the opportunity to progress to further MSc level study to achieve a postgraduate Diploma or an MSc. This stage is rated at 60 credits and is the equivalent of SCQF level 11.


  • Information about Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), and contact information for approved programme coordinators can be found on the SSSC’s website.
  • Information about the Awards can be found on the SQA’s website

Approved Programme Providers in Scotland

The Postgraduate Certificate in Practice Education, Stirling University is relevant for professionals working in social work services who want to develop their knowledge and skill base in order to take on the Practice Education role with social work students on practice placements. This postgraduate certificate forms part of the newly approved MSc in Applied Professional Studies programme. This means that those who complete the certificate can choose to combine it with other study in order to progress to a Diploma or the MSc. For further information please contact:

Tayforth Partnership run the Professional Development Award in Practice Learning. Full details and application forms can be obtained from the Practice Learning Team at Dundee City Council - 01382 437511.

The Graduate Certificate Practice Learning Qualification (Social Services) at Robert Gordon University is specifically designed for experienced social work practitioners who wish to be involved in the assessment of social work student practice learning opportunities.

Information on the South East Scotland Professional Development Award in Practice Learning can be found by following this link.

Learning Network West provides the Practice Teaching qualification.  The course is Practice Development Award in Practice Learning (PDAPL).  Click on this link for course information and the application process.

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