Crofting and Countryside Skills Certificate (NC Rural Skills) SQA Level 4

What is special about this course?

The Scottish countryside is a fantastic natural resource and many of us have an increased sense of responsibility towards it`s sustainable use, and conservation. Careers within the land sector are on the increase and it is a rewarding area to be involved in.

If you would like to work in the great outdoors, making a living from the land and contributing to its future management and well-being, then this full-time SCQF level 4 course will introduce you to a range of practical skills and approaches to land use and help you reach your full potential.

The course aims to take a broad approach, introducing you to a number of sectors including: livestock and agriculture; horticulture; forestry; environmental studies and transferable estate work skills. With a balance of both practical and theoretical work, you`ll acquire a good range of skills, with a thorough understanding of how and when they should be applied.

Industry training in specialist practical areas is an important part of the course, and you will have the opportunity to gain recognised certificates in skills ranging from chainsaw operation to dry stone walling and safe use of pesticides, greatly improving your employment prospects.

Core skills are an integral part of the course. These will be closely tied in with the other units you are studying and will enable you to move on with confidence to your next educational step or place of employment.

Entry requirements

No previous experience or qualifications are necessary, however a keen interest to work in the outdoors and an enthusiasm for this sector are vital. You must also be reasonably fit and happy to work in all weathers, and be able to safely follow instruction in the use of tools and machinery under supervision. Basic literacy is required and students should have reached the minimum age of sixteen. Mature students are welcome, and all candidates will attend an interview.

Areas for study could include:

  • Estate Management and Maintenance Skills
  • Environmental Studies
  • Practical Conservation
  • Agriculture
  • Livestock
  • Gardening and Horticulture
  • Forestry
  • Machinery Operation
  • Dry Stone Walling
  • Aquaculture
  • Industry Approved Training Courses
  • Core skills, Communication, Numeracy and ICT

Also industry approved training courses relevant to your areas of study:

  • Chainsaw Crosscutting Maintenance and Felling
  • All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV) Operations
  • Dry Stone Walling
  • First Aid
  • Manual Handling
  • Brush Cutting/Trimmer
  • PA1 and PA6: safe use of pesticides and knapsack sprayers

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

How long will my course last?

You will study 21 hours (3 days) per week for 34 weeks.

Where can I study my course?

    • Broadford

Start date



Most students have their course fees paid as this is a full time course. Please contact your local college learning centre or Student Services for more information.

Some of our courses require students to have essential equipment/clothing.

If you are 18 and over and are eligible for a bursary, these costs will be met through your bursary. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will need to fund these items yourself.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to EMA or not. However you must apply for EMA even if you know that you’re not entitled to EMA.

If in any doubt or if you want detailed information, please call student services on 01397 874321.


Students may also qualify for bursary funding.

Further information on course fees & funding can be found here.

What can I do on completion of my course?

On successful completion of this course you can progress on to related further education and higher education courses in your preferred skill or into industry related employment.

Is there more information available online?

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Apply for Crofting and Countryside Skills Certificate (NC Rural Skills) SQA Level 4

I want to start in 2018/19

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at West Highland College UHI. West Highland College 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.

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