SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.

National Certificate: Project Support Service 
50398  National Certificate: Project Support Service 
SGB Project Management 
SERVICES - Services Sector Education and Training Authority  OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
National Certificate  Field 03 - Business, Commerce and Management Studies  Project Management 
Undefined  136  Level 3  NQF Level 03  Regular-Unit Stds Based 
Passed the End Date -
Status was "Reregistered" 
SAQA 06120/18  2018-07-01  2023-06-30 
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 


The National Certificate in Project Support Services: NQF Level 3 will provide the qualifying learner with the competencies needed to undertake a range of project support service functions. It also tasks and introduces the learner to some workplace and self management practices. The National Certificate: Project Support Services, NQF level 3 has been designed for people working in a project management environment at a project support level. This Qualification will mean that in future those people involved in a project management environment at lower levels will have the necessary knowledge, skills and attitudes to operate more professionally. It will also open up further career paths for people within the Project Industry and advance career opportunities. Their ability to follow and implement policies and procedures will be enhanced.

In line with the needs and requirements of the project management industry, this qualification represents a planned combination of learning outcomes in the areas of business practices, basic accounting, administrative and other related fields, and especially the field of project management. It will provide qualifying learners with competence and a basic understanding for further learning. The Qualification should enrich and add value to the learner by providing status and recognition by means of a recognised National Qualification.

Therefore the primary purpose of the Qualification is to provide learners with:
  • An understanding of self-management and personal behaviour in an organisational environment.
  • An understanding of business ethics and practices and how to function as a team member.
  • Competence to perform support service functions in a project team.

    This Qualification is intended to enhance the provision of support services within the Project Industry and thus enable learners to use these competencies, for their own benefit such as personal and career growth and improve the organisation's chances of success, therefore their own progress.


    People who work in the Project Support Services environment operate in a wide variety of industries and sectors, in diverse operating and service delivery circumstances, depending on the nature and scope of the project to which they will provide support. They have to have understanding and awareness of the challenges they may face in the process of providing support to a project.

    This Qualification should result in the development of the skills and knowledge required to be successful at project support services for people at entry level. This Qualification will equip the learner with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to start providing support to the project management functions for a project.

    This Qualification is intended to assist in creating appropriate learning opportunities, which will contribute towards a safe and effective workplace that will benefit the project management industry at large and open up diverse learning pathways. The Learners accessing this standard will be working in or with project support services teams, and using a project approach. These projects may be technical projects, business projects or developmental projects and will cut across a range of economic sectors. This Qualification will also add value to learners who are running their own businesses and who recognise that project support service forms an integral component of any business.

    The prospective learner for this Qualification may be a person who is entering the workplace or has been working in the workplace and has limited formal project support services training/ competence. Such a person may be working part time or full time with projects. The learners may be from any sector, working in formal business, government, the community or in rural areas.

    The Qualification gives accessibility and flexibility to the learner and to the employer. The level of flexibilities reflected in the multiple job roles, organisational requirements and changing technological nature of the industry applicable to the learner. At the same time the Qualification allows the individual to work towards a nationally recognised Qualification. 

    Learners accessing this Qualification will have demonstrated competence as follows:
  • Mathematical Literacy and Communication at NQF level 2 or equivalent.

    Recognition of prior learning (RPL):

    Historically project management and project support services have been an 'accidental' profession. A large number of practitioners have experience, but no formal underpinning knowledge. It is therefore essential to recognise prior learning and the application in the work place. The nature of project support services means that competence is developed experientially. Therefore the assessment processes will recognise experience versus theoretical knowledge. Portfolios of evidence will be important contributions to the assessment process.

    All Recognition of Prior Learning is subject to quality assurance by the relevant accredited Education, Training, Quality, and Assurance Body and is conducted by a registered workplace assessor.

    Access to the Qualification:

    Access to the Qualification is open bearing in mind the learning assumed to be in place. 


    The Qualification is made up of a combination of learning outcomes from Fundamental, Core and Elective components, totaling 136 credits.
  • Fundamental: 36 credits at level 3
  • Core: 88 Credits:
    > 13 Credits at Level 2
    > 61 Credits at Level 3
    > 14 Credits at Level 4
  • Elective: 12 (Minimum)
    > 15 Credits at Level 3
    > 9 Credits at Level 2
  • Total: 136 (Minimum)
    > 36 Credits Fundamental
    > 88 Credits Core
    > 12 Credits Elective

    Motivation for number of credits assigned to Fundamental, Core and Elective:

    Fundamental Credits

    There are 20 credits for Communication and 16 credits for Mathematical Literacy, which are compulsory for all learners.


    88 credits have been allocated to the Core Unit Standards. This is to ensure that the Qualification has a strong Project Support Service focus. The Core Unit Standards offer a broad contextual understanding and will enable the learners to gain an awareness of the project management and project management support services environment. It will equip the learner to operate effectively in the work environment.


    The Learner should select a minimum of 12 credits from the Elective component. This should be made up as follows:

    The one Accounting Unit Standard ID117421 - 12 credits. Total credits 12.
    The three Unit Standards Information Systems and Document Control; ID 13933 - 3 credits plus ID 14339 - 5 credits plus ID 14340 - 4 credits. Total credits 12. 

    1. Behave in the workplace in accordance with generally accepted business norms and practices.
    2. Demonstrate an understanding of the project support services environment and process project information.
    3. Provide basic support services in a project management environment.

    Elective Exit Level Outcomes:

    4.a. Employ basic accounting concepts.
    4.b. Control project documentation. 

  • Own workload and time is effectively managed according to business requirements.
  • Roles and responsibilities are understood within the team and project context.
  • Own performance is managed in accordance with roles, responsibilities, values and ethics.
  • Management functions and employee relations are understood in an organisation.

  • The project needs and requirements for project support services are understood in accordance with the project management environment and its success criteria.
  • Project information and change requests are processed in accordance with project requirements.

  • Project data is gathered and collated from identified sources.
  • Project information is stored and distributed in accordance with project requirements.
  • Historical information databank is maintained in accordance with project quality, risk, cost control, planning and scheduling and estimating requirements.

  • Different accounting processes are understood and applied according to accounting and organisational requirements.
  • Accounting practices are applied according to accounting and organisational requirements.

  • Document management processes are understood and maintained according to project requirements.
  • Documents are processed and tracked according to project requirements.

    Integrated assessment:

    Development of the competencies may be through a combination of informal and formal learning, self-learning, training programmes and work-based application. Providers should conduct diagnostic and formative assessment. Formative, continuous and diagnostic assessments should also take place in the work place. The learner should be able to assess him or herself and determine readiness for a summative assessment against this Qualification.

    Learning, teaching and assessment are inextricably linked. Whenever possible, the assessment of knowledge, skills, attitudes and values shown in the unit standards should be integrated.

    Assessment of the communication, language, literacy and numeracy should be conducted in conjunction with other aspects and should use authentic Project Operational contexts wherever possible.

    A variety of methods must be used in assessment and tools and activities must be appropriate to the context in which the learner is working. Where it is not possible to assess the learner in the workplace or on-the-job, simulations, case studies, role-plays and other similar techniques should be used to provide a context appropriate to the assessment.

    The term 'Integrated Assessment' implies that theoretical and practical components should be assessed together.

    Assessment should ensure that all Specific Outcomes, Embedded Knowledge and Critical Cross-Field Outcomes are evaluated. The assessment of the Critical Cross-Field Outcomes should be integrated with the assessment of Specific Outcomes and Embedded Knowledge.

    The summative assessment should be undertaken under the direction of the relevant ETQA. 

    Project Support Services is a discipline with globally recognised best practices, standards and Qualifications. This Qualification and set of unit standards utilises international and locally recognised best practice and standards in project management and project support services. Leaders in Project Management and Project Support Services are recognised as the USA, Canada, UK, European Countries and Australia.

    There are Professional Project Management Associations in most countries to which Project Managers and Project Support staff belong. These associations usually play a co-ordinating role in Project Management training and often benchmark training programmes in their own countries.

    Internationally, no qualifications exist at the NQF Level 3; however, references were made to the following institutions, which provide learning in this area:
  • Association for Project Management (UK)
  • International Project Management Association (Europe)
  • Australian Institute for Project Management (Australia)
  • Project Management Institute (PMI®) (USA)
  • Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International (International)
  • The Association of Cost Engineers

    The first four organisations are participating in a global initiative of which South Africa is a part to develop global performance project management standards at the various levels applicable to the industry. Their training programmes are regarded as representing best practices.

    Sections of the following higher-level Qualifications were looked at:
  • United Kingdom:
    > The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (G4L3 25)
    > National occupational standards for project management (2004)
  • Ireland:
    > APM Project Management
    > APM Introductory Certificate (IC) In Project Management
    > Understand the context of a project
    > Recognise the content and ownership of project definition documentation
    > Understand the various breakdown structures
    > Be aware of critical path analysis and Gantt chart techniques
    > Appreciate the main elements of risk an quality management
    > Apply basic change control techniques
    > Understand the context of post-project reviews
  • Ireland:
    > APM Project Management
    > Prince 2 to ISEB Conversion
    > Module 1:
    > The role of the manager
    > Project management methodologies
    > Project Organisation and roles
    > Health and safety
    > Managerial behaviour
    > Project initiation
    > Constructing plans
    > Risk management
    > Quality control
    > Estimating with FPA ll
    > Managing external resources
    > Cost/benefits analysis
    > Contracting out
    > Progress control
    > Plans and the Project Support Office
  • Ireland:
    > APM Project Management
    > Prince 2 to ISEB Conversion
    > Module 2:
    > Product delivery framework
    > Describing products
    > Quality reviews
    > Configuration management
    > Product handover
    > Post-implementation considerations
    > Managing change
    > Quality planning
    > Quality standards QMS
    > Quality assurance and audits
    > Implementing management systems
    > Code of practice
    > Earned value analysis
    > Written examination
    > Builds on PRINCE2 topics
  • Global:
    > Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering International
    > Certified Cost Engineer (CCE)
  • United Kingdom: Acoste Project Control
  • Unit Standards:
    > Develop objectives and specify functions for project control
    > Develop procedures and systems for project control
    > Analyse project risks and manage contingencies
    > Obtain feedback, maintain progress and secure improvements
  • Global: National Occupational Standards for Project Control
  • Unit Standards:
    > Using Technical Skills
    > Oversee the application of information technology (ID) to project control
    > Apply information technology (IT) to project control
    > Identify risks and evaluate options for their control
    > Monitor risks and review contingencies
    > Monitor the implementation of risk control measures
    > Assure and control the quality of project control activities
    > Apply quality assurance procedures to project control activities
    > Retrieve, record and present project control information
    > Acquire and handle information needed for project control
  • Working With People an Managing Yourself:
    > Provide advice and support to maintain progress
    > Manage the project control team - agree objectives and teams and individuals
    > Manage the project control team - allocate work
    > Manage the continuing development of your personal and project control professional skills
    > Develop yourself in the project control work roles
    > Develop skills for your project control team members
    > Develop an maintain effective working relationships
    > Contribute to effective project working relationships
    > Observe and apply professional ethics and values
    > Plan and implement project control operational developments
  • Developing the Project:
    > Determine the requirements for project control
    > Estimate and specify financial resources
    > Develop the project programme
    > Establish project procurement requirements
    > Prepare project cost estimates
    > Prepare the project programme
    > Plan the project procurement activities
    > Establish procedures, methods and systems
    > Apply procedure, methods and systems
    > Develop commercial control procedure
  • Project Implementation:
    > Develop the work breakdown and coding structures
    > Establish project control budgets
    > Establish project control programmes and schedules
    > Prepare project control budgets
    > Prepare project control programmes and schedules
    > Monitor, control and report on exposure commitment and expenditure
    > Carry out project cost control activities
    > Monitor, control and report on project progress
    > Carry out project scheduling activities
    > Select tenderers and obtain estimates, bids and tenders
    > Evaluate and select successful bids from tenderers
    > Prepare the commercial aspects of bid and tender offers
    > Conclude arrangement for the supply of sub-contracts, goods, materials and services
    > Forecast the use of project financial resources
    > Forecast the project schedule achievement
    > Calculate the financial outcomes of activities
    > Calculate activity completion data
    > Evaluate the information and prepare claim submissions
    > Provide commercial support to the agreement of claims
    > Identify and quantify emerging changes
  • Closing Out the Project:
    > Ensure the completion of project control activities
    > Evaluate project controls performance and project information and data

    International standards/knowledge that has been referenced includes:
  • A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 1996 and 2000 versions, from Project Management Institute (PMI®) - the following units of knowledge:
    > Time management
    > Cost management
    > Quality management
    > Communications management
  • Australian National Competency Standards for Project Management - knowledge areas:
    > Complete daily work activities (BSBCMN102A)
    > Work effectively in a business environment (BSBCMN201A)
    > Communicate in the workplace (BSBCMN203A)
    > Organise personal work priorities and development (BSBCMN302A)
    > Manage projects (BSBCMN419A)
    > Contribution to effective workplace relationships (BSBFLM303A)
    > Apply time management techniques (BSBPM402A)
    > Apply cost management techniques (BSBPM403A)
    > Apply quality management techniques (BSBPM404A)
  • United Kingdom - Body of Knowledge from Association for Project Management
  • International - International Standards Organisation (ISO) 10006
  • Europe - International Project Management Association Competence Baseline
  • Project Management Professional role delineation study from PMI® - knowledge areas:
    > Professionalism and Ethics
    > Legal requirements
    > Communications
    > Conflict of interest
    > Ethnic and cultural norms
    > PMP® code of ethics

    The proposed South African Qualification compares favourably what does exist in the world. From a South African perspective, this Qualification therefore articulates well with the courses available in other countries and offered by the professional associations. In other third world and some first world countries, similar courses exist, but South Africa has taken precedence in generating a full qualification in this area of learning. 

    Horizontal articulation possibilities lie with other NQF Level 3 Qualifications and Unit Standards in the learning areas of:
  • National Certificate: Management - NQF Level 3 - NLRD 23654
  • National Certificate: Business Administration Services - NQF Level 3 - NLRD 23655
  • National Certificate: Public Administration - NQF Level 3 - NLRD 48513
  • Certificate: Registered Accounting Clerk - NQF Level 3 - NLRD 20362

    Vertical articulation can be achieved by embarking on the study of related NQF Level 4 Qualifications:
  • FET Certificate: Project Management - NQF Level 4 - NLRD 50080
  • National Certificate: Risk Management - NQF Level 4 - NLRD 24396
  • National Certificate: Business Administration Services - NQF Level 4 - NLRD 35928 

  • Anyone assessing a learner or moderating the assessment of a learner against this Qualification must register as an assessor with the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) Body.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable the achievement of this Qualification must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA.
  • Assessment and moderation of assessment will be overseen by the relevant ETQA according to the ETQA's policies and guidelines for assessment and moderation; in terms of agreements reached around assessment and moderation between ETQA's (including professional bodies); and in terms of the moderation guideline detailed immediately below.
  • Moderation must include both internal and external moderation of assessments at exit points of the Qualification, unless ETQA policies specify otherwise. Moderation should encompass achievement of the competence described in the Qualification. 

    For an applicant to register as an assessor for the NQF Level 3 project support services certificate, the applicant should:
  • Be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA or an ETQA that has a memorandum of understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Hold a Project Support Services Qualification at NQF Level 4 or above, or equivalent qualification.
  • Have at least two (2) years experience working in project support services or on projects, applying project processes and techniques. 

    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this qualification was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    Exit point for learners who do not complete the Qualification:
  • Learners will be credited with Unit Standards in which they have proved competence.
  • Learners who complete individual Unit Standards but do not complete this Qualification retain their credits. However, should the substance of the Unit Standard change, the validity of the credits towards the Qualification may be reviewed.
  • Learners who change their provider or learning site before completing the Qualification may transfer their credits to the new learning site. 

    Core  113924  Apply basic business ethics in a work environment  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  9964  Apply health and safety to a work area  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  8494  Demonstrate an understanding of HIV/AIDS and its implications  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  8416  Understand and apply personal values and ethics  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Core  123461  Demonstrate an understanding of and provide assistance for risk analysis functions  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  123462  Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the project and the project support services environment  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  10170  Demonstrate understanding of employment relations in an organisation  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  123468  Explain and apply quality control procedures  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  123463  Explain and provide assistance for project estimating service functions  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  123466  Explain the quality, time and cost parameter of a project and obtain change request authorisations  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  123464  Gather information and provide assistance for project planning and scheduling functions  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  13918  Manage time and the work process in a business environment  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  123465  Measure and plan own performance and behaviour in line with roles and responsibilities in a project team  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Core  123467  Provide assistance for project cost control functions  Level 3  NQF Level 03  10 
    Core  14667  Describe and apply the management functions of an organization  Level 4  NQF Level 04  10 
    Core  116594  Function in a team  Level 4  NQF Level 04 
    Fundamental  119472  Accommodate audience and context needs in oral/signed communication  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9010  Demonstrate an understanding of the use of different number bases and measurement units and an awareness of error in the context of relevant calculations  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9013  Describe, apply, analyse and calculate shape and motion in 2-and 3-dimensional space in different contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  119457  Interpret and use information from texts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  9012  Investigate life and work related problems using data and probabilities  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  119467  Use language and communication in occupational learning programmes  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  7456  Use mathematics to investigate and monitor the financial aspects of personal, business and national issues  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Fundamental  119465  Write/present/sign texts for a range of communicative contexts  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  14339  Identify and maintain the types of records required in own industry and understand why it is necessary to create evidence and maintain confidentiality  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  14340  Maintain an existing information system in a business environment  Level 2  NQF Level 02 
    Elective  117421  Demonstrate basic accounting concepts  Level 3  NQF Level 03  12 
    Elective  13933  Plan, monitor and control an information system in a business environment  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  116930  Use a Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based presentation application to enhance presentation appearance  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  116940  Use a Graphical User Interface (GUI)-based spreadsheet application to solve a given problem  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  116942  Use a GUI-based word processor to create merged documents  Level 3  NQF Level 03 
    Elective  119078  Use a GUI-based word processor to enhance a document through the use of tables and columns  Level 3  NQF Level 03 


    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.

    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.