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New and ‘approved’ qualifications

2018 is a year of change in learning and development.  Whilst grappling with the new apprenticeship standards and new apprenticeship funding systems; you might not have noticed there’s been a change to adult social care qualifications too! 

RQF – oh no, not another acronym!

The new Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) came into full effect on 1st January 2018.  This is the new way that Ofqual regulate qualifications across all sectors.  Skills for Care and the awarding organisations operating in the adult social care sector wanted to embrace the new principles of independence, responsiveness and innovation, whilst continuing our longstanding partnerships.  The result of this is Skills for Care ‘approved’ qualifications.

New and ‘approved’ qualifications

The new regulations came at a good time for the sector, as several of our core competency qualifications – or diplomas – were getting ready for a refresh.  A new system was designed whereby Skills for Care approve diploma qualifications against a set criteria, or specification, and list all the approved qualifications on our website.

Approved qualifications:

ü  Include consistent mandatory content

ü  Include a range of optional units

ü  Are approximately the same size

ü  Might have slightly different titles

What’s available for learners supporting individuals accessing care?

The refreshed diploma qualifications are called:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Care
  • Level 3 Diploma in Adult Care
  • Level 4 Diploma in Adult Care


You can access the Level 2 and Level 3 diplomas through the new Adult Care Worker and Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship standards.  The Level 4 diploma will be included in the Lead Practitioner in Adult Care standard which will be available later this year. 

What’s available for learners leading and managing adult care services?

The Level 5 Diploma in Leadership for Health and Social Care and Children and Young People’s Services remains unchanged for now and available until September 2018.  It can still be accessed within the Care Leadership and Management Level 5 apprenticeship.

A new qualification will be launched in September 2018 called the Level 5 Diploma in Leadership and Management in Adult Care and will be included within the new Leader in Adult Care apprenticeship standard when it’s released later this year.  This new qualification reflects the evolving and challenging role of management in the sector and is designed around 11 topic areas including: leadership and management; partnership working; managing-self; and entrepreneurial skills.

A change could do you good… and help make you outstanding

“Good and outstanding rated services invest in the effective development of their workforce. Their induction processes go beyond the minimum standards and the longer-term development utilising best practice and qualifications where appropriate is usually a priority.”

Good and outstanding care guide, Skills for Care

 Don’t be put off by all the changes!  The new and upcoming diploma qualifications (and apprenticeships) offer great learning opportunities for new and established workers that reflect the modern and evolving adult social care sector.  Qualifications can help you to:

ü  Enable workers to provide good and outstanding care;

ü  Create effective leaders;

ü  Attract new recruits;

ü  Keep your current workforce;

ü  Improve the service’s reputation;

ü  Improve workforce productivity.

To get started:

ü  Choose Skills for Care approved qualification.  Check that your learning provider offers these.

ü  Understand the optional units.  The ‘core’ or mandatory content across approved qualifications will be consistent, but different qualifications might offer different optional units to support your workers’ personal and professional development and enable them to offer tailored support for those accessing your service.

ü  Find an endorsed learning provider.  Skills for Care not only approve qualifications, but we endorse learning providers who offer high quality learning in the sector.

To find out more about adult social care qualifications, apprenticeship and other learning and development opportunities, visit www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Learning-development/Learning-and-development.aspx



Edel Harris





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