Supporting delivery of Higher Nationals in Cloud Computing

9 May 2021

In doing our research and in conversation with Amazon Web Services, it became clear quite quickly that you know the cloud is huge and is developing fast.

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We discovered that:

  • 80% of enterprise IT will move to the cloud by 2025
  • global public cloud computing market is growing by 15% year on year
  • cloud computing is ranked as top skill since 2014.

The utilization of cloud services is increasing, which leads to people needing to be trained and skilled in developing and delivering cloud services. We developed our BTEC Higher Nationals in Cloud Computing to address this need.

Additional AWS certification for students

Upon completion of the Level 4 Higher National Certificate (HNC), students will be suitably prepared to attempt the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam, with a recommendation that students have six months of fundamental AWS Cloud and industry knowledge before taking the exam.

In addition, all three of the Level 5 Higher National Diploma (HND) pathways include foundational content which can help students to partially prepare for both the AWS Certified Solutions Architect and the AWS Certified Developer exams at Associate Level. The Cloud Software Development pathway offers the most coverage in content in preparation for the latter.

Furthermore, the HN pathways broadly align to job roles at AWS as follows:

  • HNC – Cloud Support Associate
  • HND Cloud Support – Cloud Support Engineer
  • HND Cloud Cyber Security – Cyber Security Specialist
  • HND Cloud Software Development – Software Development Engineer

AWS delivery resources to help with hands-on learning

AWS Educate have provided a comprehensive package of cloud learning resources mapped to in-demand IT jobs to support the delivery of the qualification. The Support Pack, available free of charge to centres and students on the Cloud Computing Higher Nationals, is available via HN Global, includes:

  • opportunities for students to be awarded digital badges for completing exercises and stages of learning within AWS educate
  • virtual classroom environments to apply your learning
  • access to console and sandbox environments for lab activities
  • access to the AWS Educate job board so that students become more proficient in cloud in areas like software development or cyber security our cloud support associate
  • AWS cloud credits to put towards accessing additional tools and services, to build their own applications if they wish. That can be for a project or an assignment or just building their own learning and development.

Educators also have access to several interactive steps and guides that can help and support in the qualification delivery. The resources are organised by learning outcomes and therefore closely aligned to the structure of the Higher National qualification.

The resources, which are organised into read, build and reflection phases of learning, have duration times indicated for each of the activities, descriptions of all the assets and then also how to use them in your classroom discussions.

Support available to centres and educators

Marketing Toolkit

All centres approved to deliver Higher Nationals in Cloud Computing have access to a marketing toolkit, with co-branded Pearson and AWS materials. This is available through the HN Global platform.

Example Assignment Briefs

The Assessment Brief forms a critical part of the assessment process for students and teachers. A well-structured assignment brief, that is contextualised by a vocational scenario, should provide the student with a modelled real-world situation that reflects the type of work that they may undertake in future employment. As with any assessment brief, the Pearson EABs are intended to provide a model of an assessment that is valid, sufficient, authentic, appropriate and relevant.

Monthly drop in sessions

Centres delivering HNs in Cloud Computing will be able to join ‘Office hours’ every month and have their questions answered by colleagues from Amazon Web Services. These sessions are a great opportunity to ask any specific technical questions and provide clarity on any queries relating to the Support Pack.


In addition to Getting Ready to Teach and Assignment Writing training, educators benefit from various support options to help deliver the qualification.

AWS certifications and resources

Staff delivering the qualifications are not required to be AWS certified, however teachers are more than welcome to undertake certification. There are also additional possibilities to learn more about cloud computing and we're looking at how we can progress educators through an optional training programme that will allow them to better support the students on their learning journey.

The Support Pack and AWS Educate platform includes resources from 12 cloud career pathways. Each one of those has about 2025 hours of content in a variety of domain areas and specialties, enabling deeper conversations that they can have with students.

There’s a vast library of white papers, as well as a dedicated YouTube channel. Educators can also join collaborations to share knowledge and best practice with other teachers, as well as making using of the testing space which can be used collaboratively.

Finally, you can access another learning library at, where we host hundreds of hours of free digital content for any level of cloud computing knowledge and skill, from beginner all the way up to advanced.

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