Skills for Care

There are many different learning and development opportunities for the adult social care sector and many different ways to keep the costs low.

From more formal learning opportunities such as qualifications, to digital learning and other alternatives, it’s important that you have a good understanding what's available so that you can make the best choice for your service and staff.


Learning on-the-job

Action learning

A structured method of small groups coming together to work on real problems for individuals, teams and organisations. It allows participants to explore, test and learn from ideas and actions.


Apprenticeships develop skilled and competent workers due to the mix of on and off-the-job learning.

Virtual reality and augmented reality

These are digital solutions which allow humans to explore fully immersive computer-generated worlds, in virtual reality (VR), and overlay computer graphics onto our view of our immediate environment, augmented reality (AR). These solutions used to be very expensive but there are lots of freely available opportunities now and with cardboard headsets to use with your mobile phone, the equipment is inexpensive too, for example cardboard viewers start from around £6.

Alzheimer’s Research UK has developed a free dementia VR resource.


Learning socially


These are usually attended by managers & leaders however, they can be suitable for your staff too if the topic is relevant to their role. They may be dismissed as too expensive, but you can often find local opportunities that are free or very low cost. 

Top tip

Talk to other managers to find out about conferences and networking opportunities that they recommend, via the Registered Manager Networks.

Flipped learning

A group of staff are given information to take away and digest or are asked to research topics. They then come back together to share and discuss what they’ve learnt and consider how to put it into practice in their setting. This is extremely cost effective and you can use the internet to search for different topic ideas.

Informal development opportunities

These are good methods of developing your staff and succession planning for new leaders and managers. Find out more about different methods


These are online discussions or presentations that are used to improve knowledge and understanding. They are often recorded and shared, so you can access them at a time that suits you. NICE and SCIE have produced some free example webinars.


Learning off-the-job


These are a form of eLearning designed for mobile phones and tablets. They are normally broken into bite-sized modules and are commonly associated with ‘just in time’ training or used to refresh and check knowledge such as Cuppa Care. There are some free Apps available such as Simple Habit for mindfulness and wellbeing. 


There are lots eLearning opportunities, some are free such as e-LfH or very low cost when purchased in bulk. We offer low cost eLearning for the Management Induction Standards.

Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

These are free online courses which are available for anyone to enrol. Here are some examples: Future Learn (many of their courses are free) e.g. Dysphagia – swallowing difficulties and medicines Open University – Open Learn (all of their online courses are free) e.g. Understanding Autism


Qualifications can play an important role in learning and development and there are a wide variety available within adult social care. Find out more.


Next steps

Some off-the-job learning will need a learning provider to deliver the training.