The Social Care Council works collaboratively with the social care sector, awarding organisations, further education colleges, other training providers and CCEA (NI Qualifications Regulator) to regularly review and develop work-based/competence qualifications for social care, children and young people’s services. These include competence-based qualifications for example: Levels 2, 3 and 5 Health and Social Care Diplomas that have been designed specifically for and with the Northern Ireland Social Care Sector.
Why Work-based/Competence Qualifications?
Work-based/competence qualifications are designed to develop the knowledge, skills and capabilities to work in the health and social care sector.
The qualifications available in Northern Ireland are the RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework). RQF classifies qualifications according to their ‘level’ and ‘size’ and maps them to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, as well as to the European Qualifications Framework.
The Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) requires awarding organisations to meet the General Conditions for Recognition in order to maintain a consistent approach to the level and size of all regulated qualifications.
Qualifications Guide for Social Care
To support both employers and social care staff, the Social Care Council has developed a Qualifications Guide for Social Care.
What is in the guide?
The guide provides guidance on relevant qualifications that are essential and/or desirable in developing the required knowledge, skills and competency, to ensure support and care is provided to the highest standard.
It can be used to:
- Inform learning and development plans to ensure staff are meeting relevant standards.
- Support individuals to consider what learning, development and qualifications they may need to progress their careers or maintain their knowledge and skills related to their job role and responsibilities.
- All of this learning and development can be used to evidence Post Registration Training and Learning or PRTL
Do social care workers need a qualification to work in social care?
Registered managers in regulated services are the only current group of social care staff where there is a mandatory requirement for a qualification (See pages 14 – 19 of the Qualifications Guide for Social Care for more information).
Social Care Workforce Reform
The social care workforce is about to change. The Northern Ireland Social Care Council have been commissioned by the Department for Health to develop:
- a continuous professional learning framework,
- career development pathway,
- qualification-based register for social care workers.
This will mean there will be a new practice framework – Care in Practice to support social care workers develop professionally and all new social care workers will be required from September 2024 to obtain a new work-based entrance qualification – the Safe and Effective Care Practice Certificate.
See Social Care Workforce Reform for more information.
More Information and Guidance
See Associated Resources for quick access access to key guidance documents and forms.