image of counselling class

Centre for Lifelong Learning Counselling

The Certificate in Counselling Skills course is designed, in association with Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA), for people for whom counselling skills could be useful in their normal day-to-day work or as the starting point for a change in career.

As well as familiarising participants with the counselling approach and a range of counselling skills, the course will also examine a number of key theories of counselling practice. Successful participants will gain an enhanced understanding of the human condition and human problems.

Is this course for you?

This class will benefit a wide variety of people working in business, industry and the public sector, including:

  • personnel & welfare officers
  • nurses & NHS support staff
  • social workers
  • mental health workers
  • teachers
  • workplace & employee counsellors

It's also suitable for people looking for personal or career development.

The counselling course is delivered by experienced tutors who have many years of experience of both teaching and working as practitioners. Throughout your studies, you'll be supported by your tutor to ensure that your experience makes the most of your particular skills-set.

The course requires two-and-a-half hours attendance each week (with some full-day Saturday workshops) from September until late June. You should allow a further three to five hours per week for further study. Please note that there's an attendance requirement on the course (usually 85%).

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements for this course, however, you should make it clear on the application form why you wish to take the class. This will be used as a selection criteria. You'll also be required to attend an informal interview as part of the selection process. References may be taken up after interview at the Centre’s discretion.

Course content

The course consists of four modules, each comprising 30 hours of formal instruction. Over an academic year, these are accumulated to gain the Certificate in Counselling Skills. The four modules which make up the course each contain elements of skills, knowledge and self-awareness (which includes an element of self-reflection within a confidential environment) throughout the exercises. There are four themes associated with the modules:

  • Module One: listening
  • Module Two: responding
  • Module Three: self-reflection
  • Module Four: integration

These themes allow for an understanding to be developed of how counselling skills can be applied in a variety of situations such as relationships, managing change, stress, and bereavement and loss. The syllabus provides an important perspective on the difference between Counselling, a professional activity, and Counselling Skills which could prove valuable for people in many occupations.


There are three elements in the assessment process:

  • skills assessment (based on performance criteria demonstrated within listening  practices)
  • oral assessment (individual presentation)
  • written assessment at the end of each module

Oral assessment and written work enable the tutors to decide if participants have developed an acceptable level of understanding of the knowledge content within the course. They also provide tutors with evidence of the participant’s level of self-awareness.;

The use of counselling skills is generally assessed by observation of competence. DVD and audio recordings are used to decide whether participants have reached the competence in counselling skills laid down in the performance criteria set by COSCA.

Dates, times & locations

Classes are held at Strathclyde's Centre for Lifelong Learning, George Street, in Glasgow city centre, as follows:


Tuesday evenings, 6.30pm - 9pm from 5th September until late June

(+ up to 4 full-day Saturday workshops)        CLASS FULL


Wednesday evenings, 6.30pm - 9pm from 6th September until late June

(+ up to 4 full-day Saturday workshops)        CLASS FULL


Friday mornings, 9.30am - 12.00pm from 1st September until late June

(+ 4 full-day Saturday workshops)        CLASS FULL


Saturdays (compressed class), 9.30am - 15.30pm from 6th January 2018 until late June

(+ additional Tuesday evening workshops)        CLASS FULL

Fees & funding options

The full fee for the course is £1,368, payable over 4 modules (£342 per module).

From date of offer, you have 2 weeks in which to pay a £100 deposit* to secure your place on the course. This payment is deducted from the cost of the first module. The balance of £242 for Module 1 is due by Friday 11th August.

*Please note this deposit is non-refundable unless medical evidence is provided.

Subsequent fees (modules 2-4) are payable prior to the start of each module.

If you withdraw from the course after the start date of any of the modules, we will retain the full fee for that module (unless funded through the SAAS Part-Time Fee Grant or SDS ILA).

If you earn £25,000 or less, funding may be available to you through SAAS’s Part-Time Fee Grant (PTFG). This will fund a portion of the course fee (£428 in 2017/18). The PTFG application form for 2017/18 is now availableFind out more about the fee grant.  

SDS Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs) may also be used. Please note that the current scheme is changing and interim arrangements will apply until the new scheme commences in October 2017. Visit My World of Work for more information.

If eligible, you can use either of the above sources, but not both.

Please contact us if you have any questions about funding.

What qualification is awarded and what can I do next?

Successful candidates are awarded a COSCA validated Certificate in Counselling Skills. This course is credit-rated by Edinburgh Napier University and maps onto the Scottish Qualification and Credit Network (SCQF) with 40 SCQF credits at level 7.

The Certificate in Counselling Skills is self-standing and is used by participants as a means of enhancing their work performance, it is not a licence to practice as a counsellor. If you wish to train as a professional counsellor, the certificate is recommended as a foundation study to lead on to a Diploma in Counselling. It is also recognised by other institutions as a desirable qualification to gain prior to pursuing further study in the field of counselling or psychotherapy.

How to apply

Application is now closed for session 2017/18.

Booking will open in April 2018 for classes commencing September 2018.

If you wish to register your interest for next session please email Janice MacWhirter ( 

Complaints Handling Procedure

In the interests of public protection, COSCA sets standards for the complaints procedures of organisational members.

Full information on our procedure is available on the University's Complaints Procedure webpage.

An outcome report will be submitted to COSCA at the conclusion of any complaints proceedings.

Complainants who are not satisfied with the outcome once the complaints procedure is exhausted may submit a complaint to COSCA under its Complaints Procedure (see the COSCA website - Complaints section for further information and contact details).