Working With Communities: HNC

Qualification Qualifications Explained
Study Mode
Full Time, Part Time

1 or 2 Academic Years

Start date
Aug 2024
East End
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Course overview

If you’d like to make a real difference to communities, supporting local people to thrive and develop according to their own needs and aspirations, then this is the course for you.  The course is designed to support you to develop an understanding of the theories which support change in communities and the opportunity to link the theories with practice. 

You might be involved in paid or voluntary community work and would like to gain a nationally recognised advanced qualification: to support better understanding of the role of community learning and development in different settings, to improve your work or to support you in opportunities for promotion or finding work with other agencies. 

If you’re not currently engaged in community learning and development work, then the placement element of the course will support you to build on and enhance previous practical experience. 

The course is delivered in a vibrant and dynamic learning environment, supporting learners to identify and tackle issues of inequality, which they will take into fieldwork practice through an extensive Community Development work practice placement.  The practice element is an essential and significant part of the course (40% - at least one day or two evenings per week) involving engagement with groups of people in community settings, supporting them to effect changes they want. 

The course suits a wide range of people including those with adult life experience who are looking to return to learning. 

This course changes lives for the better – both those of the students, those of the people they work with and those they go on to work with

What you will learn

You will learn about: 

  • The principles and values which underpin effective community practice; 
  • The social science approaches supporting theories of community change; 
  • How to facilitate and develop community groups; 
  • How to adopt and support a range of learning approaches; 
  • How to build capacity of people and the communities in which they live  
  • How to use digital skills to enhance your practice 
  • How to work with young people 
  • The social model of health and how it impacts the communities in which we work

The practice placement is an essential part of the course which is assessed through a range of practical activities undertaken in a community-based organisation  

The programme provides a local, national and global view of factors which affect our communities. 

The course links theory with practice, and learners are encouraged to discuss and share their own experiences through classroom debates based on ‘hands on’ experience. 

In this course you will explore what action people can take to tackle issues commonly faced by their communities, and you will discover approaches designed to overcome those barriers which support community groups to have a positive impact in their own areas. 

Entry requirements

While no formal qualifications are needed for this course, you will need to demonstrate good communication and interpersonal skills, because the work is very much about working with people and groups. You will normally need to have a year or more’s experience of community learning and development practice.  You will also have a passion for supporting people and promoting social inclusion. 

If you don’t have previous experience of community learning and development work, you might consider as a first step, the College’s part time Certificate in Youth Work Practice course. 

To be successful in this course, you will need to have an interest in how communities, and groups within them, work and you will need to want to support them to change - in ways that suit them and in ways which include everyone, regardless of their background and characteristics. 

If applying for this course, you should know that your personal statement will be of significance in considering you for interview or in subsequently offering you a place. 

For this programme, you will need to become members of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme, issued by Disclosure Scotland

The course is offered both full time (two days per week in College and practice placement in the community) and part time over two years, one day a week at college and placement in the community in year 2. 

For this course, if English is not your first language

  • you need to have SQA ESOL Higher (or equivalent)
  • If you do not have a formal ESOL qualification but your language skills meet this level, you should apply for your course and then contact our Admissions team to organise an internal language assessment  here at the College.

Career Opportunities

You can progress from this course to employment in the field of Community Learning and Development, working with young people, working with adults, supporting community capacity development or a combination of these.

CLD workers can be based in a range of settings including local authorities, colleges, third sector and voluntary organisations, policy teams, prisons, social work settings, religious organisations and more.

Future prospects


While in its own right the HNC is a valuable and nationally recognised qualification, it also provides the preparation to support progression to university to study and further practice community development at degree level (at first or second year at the discretion of the university)

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