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Higher Certificate in Creative Development 
90661  Higher Certificate in Creative Development 
The Independent Institute of Education (Pty) Ltd 
CHE - Council on Higher Education  HEQSF - Higher Education Qualifications Sub-framework 
Higher Certificate  Field 03 - Business, Commerce and Management Studies  Marketing 
Undefined  125  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-Provider-ELOAC 
Reregistered  SAQA 1141/23  2021-07-01  2024-06-30 
2025-06-30   2028-06-30  

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. 

This qualification provides an entry level that will enable learners to enter internships or learnerships or entry-level positions in related fields. It also assists learners to qualify for access to a Degree or Diploma in creative brand communication related fields. The qualification therefore focuses on knowledge and skills in creative branding principles, theories and practices as well as creative and conceptual development to provide the balanced skill set identified as critical for successful further studies and employment. This one-year Higher Certificate is structured in accordance with HEQF requirements.

This programme offers a balanced combination of theory and practical skills which are incorporated throughout the programme. The programme introduces learners to creative thinking, visual conceptualisation, theory, basic research, the ability to communicate professionally, and to be able to apply the knowledge in a case study simulation. The programme development is based on a problem solving approach to learning accompanied by the development of the ability to apply solutions within a familiar context. It also requires that the learner develops the ability to answer for their own actions and work effectively in teams.

Learners' creative development skills are acquired through learning conceptual development techniques which are then applied in the subjects Introduction to Creative Development, Introduction to Creative Brand Communication and Introduction to Conceptual Writing. The qualification demonstrates that creative output needs to be built on sound knowledge of conceptual and theoretical foundations related to communication and creative development. Innovative thinking is developed and assessed as learners draft basic design briefs for communicating business messages to promote products and services.

The ability to engage with theory as well as to conduct basic research is developed in subjects such as Introduction to Academic Reasoning and Critical Thinking and Communication Science. The former module focuses on introducing learners to the principles and practices of academic writing and research as well as the basic principles of referencing while writing academically. The latter module develops verbal and written communication skills, including knowledge of persuasion and argumentation.

Visual interpretations and an understanding of the aesthetic importance of visual imaging within a branding environment are dealt with in modules such as Introduction to Visual Communication and Introduction to Multimedia Design. The module Introduction to Visual Communication introduces learners to the principles and design of drawings, typography, symbols and logos whilst the Introduction to Multimedia Design introduces learners to multimedia design in the digital environment, inclusive of online and animation technologies.

The curriculum has been designed to support the achievement of the outcomes related to this programme by incorporating the different skills learned in different modules in the simulation project which is the work integrated learning component of this qualification. Practical work completed is presented in a portfolio which will be submitted at the end of the course and can also be used by the learner in their applications for employment or further studies.

The Higher Certificate qualification will equip learners who did not achieve a Bachelor's degree admission status on their NSC with an alternative route to degree (or diploma) studies. The advantage of using a Higher Certificate in this manner is that through its combination of theory, practice and academic skill it provides some of the grounding these learners are lacking while also providing a standalone qualification closely aligned with the vocational area of focus for those that do not intend to proceed with further studies. The HEQF explicitly provides for the Higher Certificate to provide access to further higher education.

The qualification is designed with a balance of theoretical, experiential and practical components which facilitates the enhancement of brand/business thinking and academic growth. While the focus of the qualification is primarily aimed at creating a pathway to further studies, the core modules provide a basic business understanding for graduates to enter the working world at an entry level. In the context hereof, this higher certificate qualification is aimed at individuals seeking an entry level pathway qualification or learners seeking a foundational, exit level qualification focussing on the creative side of corporate communication.

Learners would be equipped to take on junior or assistant positions in the creative branding and corporate communication sectors as they would have mastered basic principles and applications of branding and creative communication theory and practice. 

It is assumed that the learner would have met the admission requirements and would thus be competent in the language of instruction (English) and the theoretical and practical knowledge and understanding accomplished at that level.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
Learners can achieve this qualification in part through recognition of prior learning. The IIE RPL Policy and the Academic Credit and Qualification Completion Policy (IIE004) guide this process.

RPL for formal learning: (Credit recognition):
Learners may apply for credits and exemptions for subjects already passed in-house or at other recognised Institutes. The IIE RPL Policy and the IIE Academic Credit and Qualification Completion Policy guide this process.

Access to the Qualification:

Access is open to learners as follows:
  • Senior Certificate (SC) with English.
  • National Senior Certificate (NSC) with English.
  • NC (Vocational) NQF Level 4,with English.
  • Learners having attained the age of 23 before or during the first year of registration with three years' work experience and proven ability relating to the proposed programme as well as adequate communicative skills.
  • Learners having attained the age of 45 before or during the first year of registration. 


    The Higher Certificate in Creative Development consists of 10 modules at HEQF Level 5.

    Brand Business Principles and Fundamentals, 15 credits.
    Introduction to Creative Brand Communication, 15 credits.
    Communication Science, 15 credits.
    Personal Computing, 5 credits.
    Introduction to Visual Communication, 10 credits.
    Introduction to Creative Development, 15 credits.
    Introduction to Conceptual Writing, 10 credits.
    Introduction to Multimedia Design, 10 credits.
    Introduction to Academic Reasoning and Critical Thinking, 15 credits.
    Simulation Project - Year Module, 15 credits. 

    1. Demonstrate the ability to think creatively in order to craft innovative brand designs.
    2. Present and communicate information reliably and appropriately.
    3. Demonstrate a basic ability to use a variety of media, tools and methods effectively in corporate communication.
    4. Conduct basic research and extrapolate information in an academically accepted manner.
    5. Demonstrate an understanding of business principles related to corporate branding. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Explore the concept of creativity to develop an understanding of the principles that apply to the creative process.
  • Explore the application of conceptual thought principles in brand building.
  • Apply knowledge of persuasion and argumentation to construct creative brand messages and images.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of creative materiality and production in a brand building environment.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Effectively and professionally communicate information in a reliable and coherent manner to promote communication.
  • Use various principles related to verbal and non-verbal communication to promote brand messages through the communication process.
  • Use a variety of technology-based tools to communicate information.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Classify and compare examples of art objects based on a stylistic analysis.
  • Perform basic analysis and interpretation of visual multimedia art according to provenance, context, content and form.
  • Critically assess multimedia designs to ensure conceptual efficiency.
  • Produce a storyboard of basic visual multimedia messages according to design principles.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Acquire relevant information on creativity and communication applications from academically accepted sources.
  • Assess information for validity, reliability and accuracy.
  • Evaluate, synthesise and present information in an academically accepted manner.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • Identify and define the application of modern business principles, practices and processes.
  • Identify the internal and external factors that impact on the planning, management and control of business activities.
  • Display basic knowledge of principles and theories related to the management of creative communication.
  • Explain the application of business principles to a creative communication environment.

    Integrated Assessment:

    Formative Assessment:
    Learning and assessment are integrated. Continual formative assessment is required so that learners are given feedback on their progress in the achievement of learning outcomes. The scheme of work includes assignments based on the learning material and learners are given feedback. The process is continuous and focuses on smaller sections of the work and limited numbers of outcomes which are assessed using tests, assignments, case studies and several different projects.

    Summative Assessment:
    Summative assessment is concerned with the judgement of the learning in relation to the Exit- Level Outcomes of the qualification. Such judgement must include integrated assessments which test the learner's ability to integrate the larger body of knowledge, skills and attitudes that are represented by the Exit-Level Outcomes as a whole. Examinations, projects or equivalent assessment such as a portfolio of evidence assess a representative selection of the outcomes practised and assessed in the formative stage. Summative assessment also tests the learner's ability to manage and integrate a large body of knowledge to achieve the stated outcomes of a module.

    Integrated Assessments must be designed to achieve:
  • An integration of the achievement of exit-level outcomes in a way which demonstrates that the purpose of the qualification as a whole has been achieved.
  • The evaluation of learner performance which can provide evidence of applied competence.
  • Criterion-referenced assessment which is clearly explained to, and understood by, the learners and which can be applied in the recognition of prior learning. 

    The IIE has benchmarked this qualification against other relevant international qualifications to ensure that it meets accepted requirements and standards generally associate with a programme of this nature. Due to the unique nature of the qualification as a foundation course towards building a career in brand building and management, limited applicable international qualifications were identified.

    The Certificate in Creativity Development offered by SMAM in Sri Lanka states that 'creative minds' are required to ensure innovation within organisations. The qualification is offered over a period of three months and focuses on developing an understanding of creativity in development and communication, innovation in brand success and lateral thinking to ensure personal development. Similarly the qualification proposed by The IIE aims to develop the creative abilities of learners to become innovators within a creative brand communication environment.

    The CQ University in Australia offers a Graduate Certificate in Creative Industries, focusing on achieving similar outcomes to the qualification proposed by The IIE. The Certificate focuses on developing the creative competencies of incumbents who want to pursue a career in creative arts industries. These competencies include professional writing, editing, publishing, web design and associated fields. Similarly, modules such as Introduction to Creative Writing and Introduction to Creative Development included in The Higher Certificate proposed by The IIE, aims to enhance the creative competencies of learners.

    The Lesley University offers an Advanced Studies Certificate Program in Creativity, Leadership and Social Change. The programme is focused on learners who want to more their personal creative potential more fully and learn how to lead others in more imaginative ways. Similar to modules such as Introduction to Creative Development and Introduction to Academic Reasoning and Critical Thinking, the qualification offered by Lesley University offers modules such as Creativity and Leadership as well as Art-based Research.

    The Drexel University Online (based in Philadelphia) offers a Graduate Certificate in Creative Studies aimed at instilling in learners a creative ability. Creativity is integral to competitive advantage in today's fast-paced, dynamic working environment. Upon completion of the certificate, learners will have formed an in-depth understanding of creativity, enhanced communication and creative problem solving. Similarly the qualification proposed by The IIE aims to instil in learners an understanding of creativity, communication and problem-solving through modules such as Introduction to Creative Development and Introduction to Academic Reasoning and Critical Thinking. The ability to apply these skills in a practical manner is ensured through the Simulation Project.

    Based on the above comparison it is evident that the qualification proposed by The IIE has been designed in a similar manner relevant to international qualifications. Content included in the Higher Certificate will therefore provide learners with an adequate foundation required to enrol for and complete higher education qualifications in brand management and related disciplines. 

    This qualification articulates horizontally with:
  • Higher Certificate: Animation and Visual Effects, at NQF Level 5.

    This qualification articulates vertically with:
  • Diploma: Media Studies, at NQF Level 6. 

  • The IIE ensures the quality of its qualifications through a stringent process of internal and external control and quality assurance as set out in the IIE Assessment Policy as attached to the institutional profile.
  • All summative assessments in the exit level modules are externally moderated while all others are internally moderated.
  • The IIE, which is a multi-site provider, has a sophisticated system of internal and external moderation to assure quality and ensure equity of provision. Feedback from moderators is used to improve the quality of assessment, material and learner support as well as to ensure fairness and validity in any particular examination cycle. External moderation is also used to ensure that the quality of the programme content and its assessment is comparable to that offered by other providers.
  • All HEQC accreditation criteria as well as those in the Best Practice Guide in this regard are met and indeed exceeded because of the additional layer of internal moderation to secure equity across the sites. 

    Assessors and moderators hold a qualification at least one level higher than the qualification being assessed or moderated. Moderators are also required to have more than two years teaching experience. Assessors with less than two years' experience have their assessment work moderated by a peer. 

  • SMAM. 2011. Certificate in Creativity Development. Available at: [Accessed: 14 December 2011].
  • CQ University. 2011. Graduate Certificate in Creative Industries. Available at: [Accessed: 15 December 2011].
  • Lesley University. 2011. Advanced Studies Certificate Program in Creativity, Leadership and Social Change. Available at; [Accessed: 12 December 2011].
  • Drexel University Online. 2011. Graduate Certificate in Creativity Studies. Available at: [Accessed: 15 December 2011]. 


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    1. The Independent Institute of Education (Pty) Ltd 

    All qualifications and part qualifications submitted for public comment, or 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.