ECDL Essentials Award in IT User Skills 2016 (Modules 1, 2 & 7) SCQF Level 4

Providing you with an in-depth introduction to using key computing software.


Why take this course?

This BCS course introduces you to core IT user skills and applications used in many businesses around the world. Please note that ECDL has been split into two separate levels, ECDL Essentials and ECDL Core, to make it more achievable. 

The qualification is designed to give you a beginners overview of using computers, including internet and email. The course is useful if:

  • You want to develop a basic understanding of using IT systems;
  • You are considering further learning in IT or a subject where basic IT skills are required;
  • You are employed and want to prove to your employer that you can use IT systems safely and efficiently;
  • You are employed and want to develop your existing skills for career progression;
  • You are unemployed and would like to develop your IT user skills to help improve your prospects of getting a job;
  • You are looking for formal recognition of your IT skills and knowledge;
  • You want to prove your competence with a certificate from a leading professional body for IT.

What you will experience

You will complete three units from the ITQ framework for this qualification:

  1. Using Email and Using the Internet
  2. IT Security for Users
  3. IT User Fundamentals

Topics covered include:

  • How to use a computer safely and securely;
  • Understanding the importance of data security, and identifying common data/privacy protection, retention and control principles;
  • Understanding network concepts and connection options and be able to connect to a network;
  • Understanding key concepts of file management, be able to efficiently organise files and folders, and use utility software to compress and extract large files;
  • How to search effectively for online information and critically evaluate web content.

To achieve the qualification you must pass 3 tests, which can be taken in any order. These are administered throughout Europe by accredited Test Centres, and each test takes 45 minutes. North East Scotland College has been approved by the BCS as an Accredited Test Centre. The course fees cover the cost of one attempt at each of the assessments, which must be taken at the College's Assessment Centre.

The modules offer invaluable and transferable skills for individuals seeking employment, or advancement in posts where office IT skills are required. ECDL is recognised and valued in workplaces all over the world. Employers regard it as the international benchmark in IT user competence and meets the growing requirements for evidence of digital literacy from employers. 

Student at a computer

Key facts

Mode of study
Distance Learning
Method of study

This course requires you to manage your workload independently, and will involve attendance at a campus or centre - often for assessment purposes only.

Subject area

What you will need

All students are assigned a login to Microsoft Office 365 which includes online access to Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2016 at no extra cost.  Microsoft Access is available at the College Libraries and IT Centres.

What you need to know

Additional costs

We can register candidates in the following ways:

  • Full 7 module ECDL – at a cost of £30 or
  • ECDL Essentials (modules 1, 2 and 7) – at a cost of £30 or
  • ECDL Extra (modules 3, 4, 5 and 6) – at a cost of £45

If you know you intend to complete the full ECDL qualification with all 7 modules, it makes financial sense to pay for the full registration at the start at a cost of only £30. You must then pass all 7 modules to gain the full award.

Registration for the ECDL Essentials (modules 1, 2 and 7) costs £30 and you will receive an ECDL Essentials certificate upon completion.

Registration for the ECDL Extra qualification costs £45.  This is appropriate if you intend to solely undertake modules 3, 4, 5 and 6.  Upon completion you will receive a certificate for the ECDL Extra qualification. 

If, following completion of the Extra and Essentials qualifications, you would like the full ECDL qualification, then you must register and pay a further £30.

Payment can be made by cash, cheque or card at:

Assessment Centre Office
Room LG10, Tower Block,
Aberdeen City Campus
Aberdeen, AB25 1BN

Debit/credit card payments can be made by telephoning 01224 612237.

Please note this is not covered by the College Fee Waiver.

Anything else?

This is a Distance Learning course which means you can study at home, in the workplace or wherever you choose at times that are convenient for you. You do not have any classes to attend. The materials for this course are provided as webpages for you to work through online. As you progress through the course materials you will find explanations of each feature, followed by practical exercises. You will be supported throughout the course by a specialist Distance Learning Tutor.

As you progress they will continue to make regular contact to offer support and guidance, usually by email but sometimes by phone, to ensure you are making good progress and to support your learning throughout. You must be able to study independently through the course materials.

Whilst studying with Business & Community Development, you will have access to the Library+ sites and the Digital Skills Space. You will also have technical and administrative support from Business & Community Development team.

Fee Waivers

Please note that fee waivers or funding may apply. Find out more about funding for part-time courses.


A test for each module must be passed to achieve the certificate. The course fees cover the cost of one attempt at each of the assessments, which must be taken at the College's Assessment Centre.

Next steps


At North East Scotland College

ECDL Essentials is a qualification in information and communication technology skills, which is recognised throughout Europe, and is supported and approved by the Council of European Professional Informatics Societies (CEPIS).  After successful completion of all three modules you can either progress to the next level course and gain the full ECDL qualification or stop and the Assessment Centre will order your ECDL Essentials certificate.  The path you choose is made at the point of registration with the BCS.



This course requires some attendance at College, often for assessment purposes only. Please enquire about expectations for your specific course when booking.

Attendance is usually at the Aberdeen City Campus or Fraserburgh Campus.

Pre-entry guidance is required prior to booking a place on this course. Please contact Will Sinclair, ICT and Quality Co-ordinator, by email: or by telephone: 01224 612007.

Duration Fees Code
65 Hours over 6 Months £84.00
Paper applications only

Paper applications

You must submit a paper application form for this course and return it to us completed and signed.

Completed forms should be returned to the following freepost address:

The Student Information & Admissions Manager
North East Scotland College
Aberdeen City Campus

Should you have any problems with your application, please contact the Student Advice Centre:

Telephone: 01224 612330

If you take up a place on a College course, at the start of the course you will be asked to sign an enrolment form. In signing the form and/or taking up a place on a College course, you will enter into a contract with the College and be bound by the North East Scotland College Standard Terms and Conditions of Study. Copies of the Terms and Conditions are available for inspection on notice boards and at various locations throughout the College, at the College Reception, on the College website:, or can be obtained on request from the Student Funding and Admissions Manager, North East Scotland College, Aberdeen City Campus, Gallowgate, Aberdeen AB25 1BN. Please note that courses are offered subject to (a) there being sufficient numbers of enrolments and (b) the availability of resources. The College reserves its right (i) not to run courses where the number of students is considered insufficient or where resources are unavailable and (ii) in certain circumstances, to refuse admission to an individual applicant.