Smart Product Design and Manufacture QAN 60187736

Purpose Statement

The following page and links are designed as a purpose statement for this qualification.  The page will give information to students, parents, employers and others interested in the qualification as to its purpose and key characteristics.  The page will also offer any endorsements for the qualification.

Smart Product Design and Manufacture (SPDM) qualifications offer teachers and learners the opportunity to develop a range of skills and knowledge fundamental to successful engagement in the professional aspects of the product design, engineering and manufacturing sector of industry. The qualifications enable coverage of a wide range of general knowledge, understanding and competencies related to the competencies identified by employers in the industry. 

Who is the qualification for?

This qualification is a general purpose course for post 16 students studying at sixth-form, college or vocational settings.

For those students seeking further professional study in various technology disciplines, there is a natural progression from SPDM to university to study Design and Engineering related degrees. Further, the wide range of cross-curricular STEM based knowledge and competencies taught through SPDM make it suitable as a foundation for a broad range of STEM degrees such as Medicine, Mathematics, and Computing. 

And for those students going straight into industry, they can show appropriate foundational skills and knowledge relevant to companies applying or seeking to apply digital design and manufacturing tools and processes.

What does this qualification cover?

The students will study two mandatory units, 1 project based unit and choose fone optional unit from a choice of 5.  There will then follow an external examination. The structure is as follows:

Credits GLH Notes
Computer Aided Design and Manufacture
6 60 hours This is a mandatory unit which allows students to explore such issues as digital design tools and processes involved in modern product development and manufacture.  They will design and test a range of products both visual and functional and test these digitally and through the use of modern prototyping facilities such as 3D printing.
Embedded Systems
6 60 hours This is the second mandatory unit and allows students to explore and investigate embedded systems that now predominate Smart products – products which sense and interact with users or its environment.  They will design, program and test embedded systems and designs using the latest industry standard platforms.  They will use these skills to develop an embedded system suitable for the market place.
Understanding a Brief

10 hours

This unit gives learners the opportunity to apply some of their knowledge and skills in solving a problem for a local organisation.  For example, some local manufacturing companies might be considering developing smart technologies and embedded systems to move into different markets.  Students will look at the objectives, design some requirements and look at the strengths and weaknesses of a potential design.
Optional Unit
5 – 6 50-60 hours Learners can take one optional unit from a large list of available ones to complement their areas of skill and interest and complete their major project. These units can complement other subject areas so they may extend their computing or IT subjects by looking at the Internet of Things; they might explore the impact of smart products for art based subjects or robotics for manufacturing.


The above coursework will constitute 30 marks towards the final grade.  The external examination will award the other 70 marks and the results will be graded A*-E.

Grade Coursework 30% Examination 70% Percentage of Total available marks needed
Pass E 30 20 50
D 30 25 55
C 30 30 60
B 30 40 70
A 30 45 75
A* 30 50 80

This broad and detailed knowledge base will serve them whether they decide to further their interest in a practical way through employment or apprenticeships, use the course to supplement their other Level 3 studies, or use it as a basis for further study at University level.  The qualification offers a good mix of academic rigour and practical knowledge and experience, as well as the chance to test this out with an actual company.

What could this qualification lead to?

This qualification will lead to employment in a broad range of creative and technology sectors including Industrial Design, Product Design, Engineering, Computing, Embedded Systems Computing, Interactive Design, Service Design, Interactive Graphics Design, CAD/CAM Design, Manufacturing, New Business Development, Project Management. 

The qualification is a good introduction to

The knowledge, skills and capabilities that under-pin applying digital technologies to cre­ate "intelligent" physical products. SPDM uses modern processes designed to exploit agile manufacturing technologies, and capabilities employed via the internet or via Smart electronic devices.


The following organisations have endorsed this qualification.

Trade Body

OpenUK-Logo-V1-WhiteBG-500x200OpenUK Endorsement

nmi-parent-logo-complete-lo NMI Support letter


UTC_Reading_Logo Letter UTC Reading SPDM

wmg Support letter

87723e7f Support letter

Support Letter

Support letter



embecosm-logo Letter of support

Print Friendly