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Everyone working in adult social care should be able to take part in learning and development so they can carry out their role effectively and deliver high quality care.

We’ve developed adult social care qualifications in partnership with employers and awarding organisations to meet the needs of people who need care and support.

The qualifications provide a flexible ‘mix and match' approach to meet your needs. There is a wide range of units that make up qualifications that reflect what workers should 'know' and 'do'.

To help you get to grips with the qualifications and units available we’ve developed the Skill Selector – an interactive online tool where you can access all the individual units. However this tool will not be applicable to the new qualifications framework being introduced soon. Please see below for more information on this


Benefits of qualifications

Investment in qualifications brings a wide range of benefits.

  • Quality service - completing qualifications leads to highly skilled and competent workers providing high quality care and support.
  • Safety - training and qualifications in the key areas of health and safety provide reassurance about workers confidence and competence.
  • Value for money - qualification achievements give considerable added value and assist workforce planning in the organisation.
  • Retention - workers who receive structured learning and development feel valued and supported and are more likely to remain in their post.
  • Marketability - customer confidence and satisfaction is increased and the reputation of the organisation is enhanced.

As a sector we need to raise ambitions for a skilled workforce demonstrated through qualification achievements.

New qualifications framework

The current Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) will be withdrawn to make way for the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) between now and Dec 2017. We have dedicated a new page to keep you up to date on the next chapter for qualifications


There are level 1 pre-entry qualifications for people not yet working in social care, but interested in starting a career in the sector.

The diplomas at level 2 to level 5 demonstrate occupational competence and are undertaken by people working within a social care setting.

The level 2 and 3 diplomas in health and social care have options to take a generic pathway or a specialist dementia or learning disability pathway.

The Level 4 Diploma in Adult Care enables experienced staff to develop their skills and specialisms.

The Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children and Young People’s Services has a generic pathway or a specialist dementia or learning disability pathway.

There are awards and certificates for continuing professional development to allow you to tailor learning to specific job roles.

We’ve created a guide featuring all the current adult social care qualifications and standards recommended by us in more detail.


Take a look at the other supporting materials we’ve created to explain the different qualifications available.

We also have information on the awarding organisations that offer the qualifications.

If you see gaps in the units or qualifications available please complete this form and return to: SLQA@skillsforcare.org.uk    

You can apply for funding to re-claim some of the costs for qualifications through our Workforce Development Fund (WDF).

Skills for Care and Development, awarding organisations and Skills for Health have agreed assessment principles to create a consistent approach to parts of assessment.

The Sector Skills Council expects awarding organisations to use judgment in identifying individuals who are appropriately qualified to make assessment decisions. 

Due to the changes to the current qualifications and Apprenticeship frameworks across all sectors, the two sector skills councils for health and adult social care are working together.

Skills for Care and Skills for Health are seeing these changes as a chance to consider our future approach to integrating health and adult care qualifications.

By doing this we are showing our commitment to integration across our sectors, which will give workers in both adult care and health better opportunities and transferability.

Our joint proposal is:

  • at Level 2, there will be a common qualification for both health and adult care settings. There will be no barrier to entering either the adult care or health workforces.
  • At Level 3 we are proposing Diploma qualifications in health and in adult care. These will have, at their heart, shared core competences with optional specialisms to meet the requirements of health and adult care services.

Both of us will now be engaging with employers across both sectors and Awarding Organisation colleagues to take this vision forward.

A public consultation on both the proposed Level 2 and Level 3 core competences will be announced on the Skills for Care and Skills for Health websites and through our newsletters soon.


Due to the current Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) being withdrawn to make way for the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) between now and Dec 2017, the links to the Ofqual qualification and units register, accessed via Skill Selector, are no longer active. 

You can continue using Skill Selector to build your qualifications. For information on QCF unit content please visit the website for your Awarding Organisation.

For further updates on the changes to the qualification framework, please visit our new qualifications framework page.




Guidance for learning providers

We’re offering help to learning providers on all the new changes to social care qualifications and Apprenticeships

”By understanding the sector better you can improve your offer and potentially increase your business too”



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