arc blue


  • Start date:   August 2023
  • Level of Qualification:   SCQF Level 5
  • Course Type:   Full-time


This course is for those who want to pursue a career in the building services engineering (BSE) sector or progress on to an apprenticeship in plumbing. The plumbing element covers health and safety, basic tool skills, sanitaryware installation, forming pipework, connecting and testing water supply, and drainage systems.

The course develops skills in installing and maintaining systems as well as drawing skills through sketching and computer-aided draughting to design, install and maintain some of the services within a building or structure. This supports your progress in BSE and future development in acoustics, heating, refrigeration and air conditioning systems. 

Read about Nathan Millward's West Lothian College experience here

  • What the course includes

    The NPA award is a pre-apprenticeship qualification preparing you for work in plumbing; heating and ventilating; air conditioning and refrigeration; and electro-technical fields. The course covers:

    • Basic electrical installation operations
    • Basic plumbing operations
    • Basic heating and ventilation operations
    • Energy and the environment
    • System, roles, responsibilities and procedures
    • Building science

    It also teaches skills in safety, communication, information technology, problem solving, team-working and numeracy.

Why choose this course

You will have the chance to develop links within the industry by taking part in industrial visits/guest speakers. This course is recognised as a pre-apprenticeship course, completing this will set you apart from the crowd when you apply for an apprenticeship. 

Entry requirements

  • National 5 mathematics, English and science subject
  • National 5/general level in craft and design or a relevant practical subject such as Skills for Work, woodwork or practical craft skills
  • Those without the above qualifications but with relevant life or work experience are encouraged to apply

If English is not your first language, ESOL Level 5 is an entry requirement for this course.

  • Where it leads

    Education: NC or HNC in Construction or NPA in Joinery

    Employment: apprenticeship as an air conditioning engineer; domestic plumber; ductwork installer; gas fitter; heating installer; industrial and commercial plumber; installation electrician; maintenance electrician; refrigeration engineer; service and maintenance engineer. Previous students have found employment with SM Plumbing and West Lothian Council.

Interview arrangements

The interview involves a practical skills test and group interview. Please bring with you any copies of your qualifications. This is likely be to a phone or online interview.

Fees, Finance & Funding

There may be help available to assist with your study related costs. Impartial, confidential help and advice on financial matters is available from the Student Funding Team - including Bursaries, Educational Maintenance Allowance (EMA), Student Awards Agency for Scotland, Student Loans Company and student support funds. Click here to find out more

arc purple
arc white

Take that next step in your career and apply for this course today. If the course is not yet open for applications, feel free to ask any questions by clicking make an enquiry.