Frequently asked questions


Frequently asked questions


Skills for Care offers workforce leadership, learning and development support and practical tools to adult social care organisations in England.  By working with organisations and sharing best practice, we help to raise quality and standards and make sure dignity and respect are at the heart of service delivery.

Skills for Care helps adult social care employers in England develop their workforce and strengthen the quality of care that is provided. We have helped to develop the national induction standards for those joining the adult social care sector, known as the Care Certificate, as well as vocational qualifications aimed at ensuring those working in the sector have the necessary knowledge, skills and competence for the important roles they undertake.

Our funding helps thousands of employers to claim back some of the cost of qualifications, whilst our recruitment and retention resources help employers to find and keep the best people. By understanding the needs of adult social care employers, our resources can help them to be more effective organisations.

With over 100 products and services covering a wide range of topics and specialist support provided by local events, consultancy support and professional seminars, we encourage social care employers, employees and others to look around our website.


Skills for Care has offices in Leeds and London but our Locality Managers operate across England to provide support to employers relating to our products and services, helping employers to strengthen their business and make best use of our resources.

We regularly promote national and local events across the country aimed at primarily adult social care employers.  Many of these events are free to attend but we also provide more specialist priced seminars on a range of subject matters.

We also recognise the value of care organisations working together so encourage all to join Workforce Development Fund partnerships and - for CQC regulated services - ensure the Registered Manager has considered the Registered Manager Network and Membership offers we provide.

For more specialist support, Skills for Care provides a priced consultancy offer to help organisations with more specialist needs or detailed advice.


The National Minimum Data Set for Social Care (NMDS-SC) enables social care employers to record information about their organisation and workforce.  For employers using NMDS-SC, it is possible to compare your organisation with others using our Dashboards tool, access some free e-learning on End of Life and Dementia care, as well as funding opportunities.

The information in the NMDS-SC helps Skills for Care to advise government of the latest statistics about adult social care so it can continue to be well supported going forward. 


For the majority of adult social care roles, there is no past experience or qualifications that are essential.   If the care organisation is regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the employer has a responsibility to train, supervise and assess the competence of their workers, including those on temporary contracts, bank workers and volunteers (covering the duties they undertake).

For care workers joining the sector with no previous health or adult social care experience, the minimum their employer should provide is the Care Certificate.  This is an induction process that the care organisation would arrange to ensure those joining the sector are well trained, supervised and assessed and competent before they are signed off by the employer to work out of line of sihgt of more experienced colleagues.  Skills for Care has produced a range of materials to help employers and those working in care organisations to understand the Care Certificate.

NB: Experienced care workers who commenced working in the sector before the Care Certificate was introduced should not need to undertake this process as long as they can evidence to their employer / future employers the training that they have undertaken.

Care organisations are strongly encouraged to continue to develop staff beyond their induction and Skills for Care would recommend using adult social care qualifications that we have helped to develop. These are nationally recognised qualifications that have been developed with input from many leading employers across the sector.

For more specialist roles within adult social care, additional qualifications may be expected by employers.  Registered Managers and Social Workers are required to hold high level qualifications, for example.  Care organisations are responsible for providing training to meet the needs of the care that they are providing and care workers should not be placed in a position where they have not received the appropriate training and assessment before they are required to deliver this care.

For the majority of care roles, there is no formal requirement that new workers must have experience or qualifications before they commence working for an organisation.  Some care organisations own recruitment practices may choose to only employ people with past experience and qualifications.  For those considering applying to a care organisation, you may wish to contact the organisation to see if they are only looking to employ previously qualified care workers.


For a new Registered Manager or somebody wishing to progress into this important role, Skills for Care recommends undertaking the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care.  This qualification replaces the earlier Registered Manager Award and NVQ Level 4 in Leadership and Management for Care Services (both of which are still accepted as an equivalent qualifications).

Skills for Care does not deliver the Level 5 Diploma ourselves but our website Qualifications section explains more about it.   For established adult social care providers in England, our Workforce Development Fund can help organisations reclaim a contribution to the cost of the qualification.  Our list of Endorsed learning providers can help identify those companies who provide the qualification, although there will be others not listed here also.

Only the Care Quality Commission (CQC) can decide who can become a Registered Manager.  They make the decision based on a formal application process and interview with the person proposing to become a Registered Manager.  The CQC will consider all applications on a case by case basis but generally would be looking for those wishing to become a Registered Manager to demonstrate to them they have the care management skills, qualifications and experience to meet this hugely responsible position.  

Further information about this process and wider support we provide to Registered Managers is available in our Recommendations for CQC Provider Guide and specialist website section.


Skills for Care provide a number of different funding opportunities, the majority of which are aimed at adult social care employers in England.  Whilst some of our funding is available across the year, other funding is only available for a short time and we recommend that all employers sign up to our e-newsletter (sent fortnightly) to avoid missing out on these opportunities.

Our Workforce Development Fund can help employers to claim back some of the cost of adult social care qualifications, including Diplomas, Awards and Certificates.   For individual employers and their personal assistants, our funding can be used for training and qualifications. For newly qualified social workers, our Assessed and Supported Year in Employment funding can help employers to deliver this support.

During the course of the year, new funding may be promoted such as our Workforce Development Innovation Fund or tender opportunities. We have also promoted specialist funding initiatives in recent years on subjects such as dementia care, positive behaviour support, autism and other topics.

Skills for Care can only fund those directly delivering care and our funding is not available to access by learning providers.  Please note do not advise upon other funding within the sector, only opportunities that we provide.


Skills for Care is not a ‘training provider’ in the sense that training is NOT our core business - but we do provide some limited training in support of our products and offer some development programmes. Our role is focused more on the design and content of qualifications, learning materials and standards to support workforce learning and promoting other ways employers can develop the adult social care workforce.

If you’re looking for a training provider, we do provide a list of endorsed providers and the courses they offer on our website.  For those looking for a training provider to deliver apprenticeship learning please check the Register of Apprenticeship Training Provision (RoATP) for those providers who are able to deliver these programmes. We would recommend any adult social care organisation looking for a learning provider to start with these lists.  

For learning providers wanting to apply to become endorsed through Skills for Care, our Endorsement Framework explains more.




Whilst we do not recruit on behalf of adult social care organisations, we do provide a lot of information for those considering working in adult social care or wishing to move positions and develop themselves further.

Our website provides useful information to better understand the opportunities and the best ways into employment.  The Care Careers section provides examples of how others have begun their career in social care and the rewards this is bringing them.  This includes our Think Care Careers section which provides deeper insight into different care roles, what tasks are involved and what type of experience and qualifications would be beneficial. In addition to listing some of the job websites where care roles are advertised, there is also information about Apprenticeship routes into social care.

If you are considering working in adult social care, many roles do not require previous experience or qualifications (although specialist roles such as Registered Managers and Social Workers will require high level qualifications).  For others, care organisations are responsible for providing an effective induction (called the Care Certificate) and ideally arrange longer-term development opportunities.  When joining a care organisation, always ask  if they provide continued development of staff and the opportunity to undertake qualifications - it is often a sign of a good employer.

Whilst some learning providers promote priced courses to help people commence a career in care, Skills for Care would recommend that people consider this make sure they fully understand what is being offered.  Learning providers can cover some of the content of the Care Certificate but they cannot issue the certificate and many employers would prefer to arrange it themselves to ensure the standard of training is appropriate.


Skills for Care provides products and services aimed at different employers addressing one of the biggest challenges within the adult social care sector; recruitment and retention

Our Finding and Keeping Workers Online provides access to guidance and advice around various issues relating to recruitment and retention experienced by micro, small, medium and large employers.  We have gathered together resources from Skills for Care and trusted other organisations to help employers understand different approaches to find and keep good quality workers.  

For those wishing to encourage more people into the sector by promoting what you do, the I Care ... Ambassadors service is a great way to use the enthusiasm of those working in the sector to attract new care workers in.

In addition, we provide information for those wishing to employ Social Workers and also those choosing to employ their own care and support.

For those with more specialist needs, our priced consultancy support should be considered.


Skills for Care has produced a wide range of resources aimed at people choosing to employ their own care and support.  In these situations, the employer is often referred to as the Individual Employer and their staff are known as care Personal Assistants.   

Whilst Skills for Care's specialism relates to learning and development, our Employing Personal Assistants Toolkit is a regularly updated resource that provides information and templates to support the recruitment and employment process.  For those considering becoming an Individual Employer or wishing to refer to our latest recommendations, a download of this free resource is available. 

In recent years Skills for Care has also helped to fund learning and development of Individual Employers and their Personal Assistants.  The employer needs to find the appropriate training for their and their staff needs but can then apply for funding to help this happen.  Full details of the funding and who is eligible is available here.

For further information about employing your own care and support from Skills for Care and other specialist national and local organisations, our Information Hub groups together a lot of practical information.  


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