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

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 (which make up qualifications) that reflect what workers should 'know' and 'do'.

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The current Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) will be withdrawn to make way for the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) between now and Dec 2017.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 new qualifications framework.  


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.


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 Level 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 six pathways, three for adult services and three for children and young people’s services. The adult pathways are: Adults’ Residential Management, Adults’ Management and Adult’s Advanced Practice.

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

You can find out more about the structure of qualifications and the different levels on our Understanding qualifications page.

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

Download the guide to qualifications in adult social care


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 a set of assessment principles that set out what is expected in relation to how qualifications in social care and health are assessed.

These principles aim to create a consistent approach to the assessment of qualifications in the sector and support awarding organisations’ quality assurance processes.


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

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

  • 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.

Read the full joint statement and proposal here




NEW: Manager Induction Standards

Our reviewed Manager Inductions Standards are now available to new, aspiring and existing managers, and reflect the big changes to the sector recently.   

”Our Manager Induction Standards are the first step to equip managers to perform well in their role. ”



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