Higher National Certificate (HNC) Leadership and Management (Online)

Ideal for students interested in a leadership and management position with entrepreneurial, employment or academic aspirations.

The Pearson Higher National Certificate (HNC) Leadership and Management (Online) is a higher technical qualification that helps you develop as a professional, self-reflecting individual, able to meet the demands of employers in the business sector and adapt to a constantly changing world. The qualification offers a nationally-recognised, higher-education qualification and the chance to enhance your career prospects. This is an ideal course for those who are looking to add to their CV, develop or change their career.

You can find out more about higher technical qualifications here:

The Higher National Certificate (HNC) Leadership and Management (Online) is a modular programme delivered fully online by our teachers through our Virtual Learning Environment. When you study with Activate Learning, you will belong to a group of students studying the HNC and have regular one to ones, group interactions and taught sessions with a team of highly-qualified and experienced teachers with business experience.

We understand the unique needs of students studying online; we appreciate that they may be juggling work, family, and other commitments, and at Activate Learning we are experienced in supporting people in those positions. We have a dedicated team of Higher Education Study Support Tutors who are on hand if you need additional help.

The HNC qualification offers a solid foundation in business aimed at students who would like a broad knowledge of all management concepts. This is ideal for students interested in a leadership and management position with entrepreneurial, employment or academic aspirations. 

PLEASE NOTE: The Higher National Diploma (HND) in Leadership and Management (Online) Top-up will be available in 2025 as a one-year course. Alternatively, you might consider the two-year course that commences in 2024: The Higher National Diploma in Leadership and Management (Online) HTQ.

You will study eight units in total:

  • The Contemporary Business Environment – you will develop the background knowledge and understanding of business, the functions of an organisation and the wider business environments in which organisations operate. You will examine the different types of organisation (including for-profit and not-for-profit), their size and scope (for example, micro, small and medium-sized enterprise, transnational and global) and how they operate. You will also explore the relationships that organisations have with their various stakeholders and how the wider external environments influence and shape business decision-making.
  • Marketing Process and Planning – you will be introduced to the dynamic world of the marketing sector and the wealth of exciting career opportunities available to support your decision-making in your career choices. You will have the opportunity to learn about the competencies and behaviours required by employers to work in the marketing sector. You will also be introduced to the key principles of marketing, enabling them to develop a marketing plan and to employ elements of the marketing mix to achieve results. You will study the underpinning theories and frameworks of marketing while relating them to real-world examples, including products and services that they encounter in their daily lives.
  • Management of Human Resources – you will developing an understanding of the purpose and scope of HRM activities. You will be able to apply a range of people-management skills to enhance the performance of an organisation by finding solutions to people-related problems.
  • Leadership and Management -will help you to understand the difference between the function of a manager and the role of a leader. You will consider the characteristics, behaviours and traits that support effective management and leadership.
  • Accounting Principles – aims to introduce fundamental accounting principles that underpin financial operations and support good and sustainable decision-making in any organisation. You will develop a theoretical and practical understanding of a range of financial and management accounting techniques.
  • Managing a successful business project – will offer you an opportunity to demonstrate the skills required for managing and implementing a small-scale business project. You will undertake independent research and investigation for carrying out and executing a business project that meets appropriate business aims and objectives.
  • Digital Business Practice – you will explore the impact of a range of digital technologies on the workplace. You will examine how these technologies can support businesses aims and services and allow interaction with customers, for example, to promote their business, to encourage people to visit their e-commerce site, to buy goods or services, to drive and increase sales, and to provide high levels of customer service.
  • Operational Planning and Management – will give you an insight into the complex nature of operations, processes and supply chain management, fundamental for understanding the holistic work environment in any industry and organisation.

The HNC will also help you develop your academic writing and research skills providing you with the opportunity develop transferable skills such as communication, teamwork and problem solving.

This course is delivered online and will consist of ‘live’ (synchronous) workshops and seminars along with learning materials which you will be guided through and able to complete at a time convenient to you. You will learn through research, independent study, directed study and workplace scenarios. By participating in vocational activities, you will develop key behaviours and transferable skills such as communication, teamwork, research, and analysis. Plus, you’ll be taught by a friendly, committed, and qualified team of lecturers who have both professional and teaching experience.


You will be assessed through a mixture of written assignments, group assessment, peer assessment, portfolio assessment and practice-related coursework. You will also be supported with a wide range of learning resources made available via Activate Learning’s Online Learning Environment (ALO), including access to textbooks, articles, and multimedia content.


You will have a range of support made available to you, including academic and pastoral support, learning support and access to additional support funds (if eligible). Please see our Support Pages for further information.

Additional study support

Whether you have a recognised disability, specific learning difficulty, or not, you will be eligible to access additional learning support in all the following areas:

  • assistive software training
  • IT upskilling
  • essay planning and structure
  • proofreading and editing written work
  • bibliographies and referencing
  • time management and personal organisation
  • revision and exam tips
  • presentation techniques

On successful completion of this course, you can progress to our HND in Leadership and Management and complete another eight units. We offer excellent progression so once you have achieved your HND you can continue your studies and ‘Top Up’ to a BA (Hons) degree (subject to meeting entry requirements).

Career opportunities could include becoming an Operational Team Leader, Department Manager, or business owner, to name a few.

Applicants will be expected to possess one of the following:

  • A minimum of 64 UCAS points, or
  • relevant Access to Higher Education Diploma, or
  • Level 3 Extended Diploma in Business or related subject, at a Merit overall, or
  • T Level at Pass in a related subject

Along with a GCSE grade 4 or above in maths and also in English. Other L2 qualifications in English and maths may be accepted.

Applications from students returning to education who do not possess the formal entry qualifications, but can demonstrate relevant industry experience, will be considered on merit but would normally be expected to have achieved a Level 2 qualification in maths and English.

Applicants whose first language is not English must also demonstrate that their level of English is acceptable by achieving a score in a recognised test such as:

  • Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) level B2
  • PTE Academic 51, or
  • IELTS 5.5 (reading and writing must be at 5.5)

Please note: Tuition fees are published for the first year of entry only and may increase in subsequent years for new students in line with an inflationary amount determined by the Office for Students.

There are a variety of funding options available to help finance your studies. If you are a UK (Home) student, you don’t have to pay your tuition fees up front. The government provides loans to cover your full tuition fee. You may also be eligible for a maintenance loan to help cover living costs. Alternatively, your fees may be paid by your employer, or we could arrange a payment schedule if you are paying your own fees.

Additional costs

Students are advised that they will need access to a laptop or PC. We recommend that you budget £100 a year additional costs such as for stationary to undertake your studies. You can borrow textbooks and access journals from the recommended reading lists from our Learning Resource Centres either physically on campus, or in the majority of cases, online. If you choose to purchase textbooks, they may cost up to £60 each.

Applicants should apply online through the Activate Learning website.

Explore your career progression options

If you are considering applying for this programme, why not explore your potential career progression routes using our handy tool.

You can explore live job vacancies, next level qualifications and apprenticeship standards in your local area. Not only this but you can also watch videos of real people talking about their experiences of working in your specific industry or occupation of interest.

Why not visit us at an Open Event and find out more about this pathway.

Why Bracknell and Wokingham College?

  • Clear routes of progression with qualifications ranging from foundation level to degree level!
  • Industry experienced teaching staff give you the responsibility and independence you need to take charge of your own future.
  • 150+

    Courses available

  • 95%

    of our graduates go into work or higher education 

  • 60+

    years of teaching experience

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