Skills for Care

Skills for Care

Skills for Care is the strategic body for workforce development in adult social care in England.

Skills for Care’s vision is
* To put employers in the driving seat on social care workforce issues
* To create a trained and qualified workforce providing high quality care
* To provide an expert voice on the social care workforce

Skills for Care seeks to raise the quality of the social care workforce by ensuring qualifications and standards continually adapt to meet the changing needs of social care employers and people who use care services.

The Chair of Skills for Care is Donald Hoodless, and its Chief Executive is Andrea Rowe.

Skills for Care’s Projects

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

Part of Skills for Care’s work is to help all those who work in social care continue to develop themselves and progress their careers through Continuing Professional Development (CPD). CPD is an ongoing planned learning and development process that enables workers to expand and fulfil their potential. CPD includes any activity that increases knowledge, experience and understanding, improves performance and contributes to lifelong learning.

Post Qualifying Social Work

A key part of CPD is encouraging Post Qualifying (PQ) training for social workers. By encouraging social work graduates to develop their skills, Skills for Care aims to ensure social workers in England are providing the best possible service to people who need their support, while also fast-tracking their own career progression.

Induction to work-based learning

A new Induction to Work-based Learning and Assessment pack has been developed by Skills for Care to support the increased amount of practice learning social work students now undertake as part of the mandatory social work degree.

Learning Disability Award Framework (LDAF)

Since April 2006, Skills for Care has taken over from the Department of Health in developing new Learning Disability Award Framework (LDAF) materials for workers supporting people with learning disabilities. The new materials, available by April 2007, will be designed to incorporate Health and Social Care NVQ levels two and three, and also meet the latest Common Induction Standards introduced by Skills for Care last year.

New Types of Worker

In March 2003 DH commissioned Skills for Care to undertake a three-year project to identify new roles in social care. This project has revealed some fascinating insights into the way roles are evolving and provides the basis for development of a user-led approach to social care.

Common Induction Standards

In October 2005, Skills for Care launched a new set of Common Induction Standards (CIS). The new standards are designed for people entering social care, and those changing roles or employers within adult social care. They are designed to be met within a 12-week period and were developed to reflect recent changes to the NVQ requirements and the General Social Care Council Codes of Practice.

The new CIS will replace the Induction and Foundation Standards. It enables carers to give high quality care and support, provides recognition for their work and prepares them for entry to NVQs in health and social care.

=National Minimum Data Set (NMDS-SC)=

The National Minimum Data Set is an ongoing national project to gather social care workforce intelligence on an unprecedented scale, enabling funding for training and workforce development to be targeted effectively, and providing managers with the tools to drill down into detailed information about their own workforce, workforces in their region, and workforces nationally.

National Occupational Standards (NOS)

New National Occupational Standards designed to improve the quality of social care delivered throughout the country were launched by Skills for Care in 2005. This was the result of a joint initiative between Skills for Health and Skills for Care and Development. The revised NOS set out competences for the vast majority of the 1.2 million strong social care workforce.

Basic Skills/Skills for Life

Through its own research, Skills for Care identified that a disproportionately high number of social care workers struggle with basic skills including reading, writing and basic maths. Skills for Care aims to identify workers’ skills gaps and support them in addressing any issues through the development of national skills academies. This means workers develop a greater sense of self-esteem and are more willing to take on responsibility.

Qualifications Frameworks

Skills for Care has three dedicated project managers, one for the family of apprenticeships in social care (Pre and Post 16 year olds), one for diplomas in social care (14-19 year olds) and one for post-qualified social workers. Their role is to develop appropriate qualifications frameworks for students that meet the needs of employers and people who use services in the most appropriate way.

Part of their role is to support the development of a new specialised diploma for 14-19 year olds in health, social care and community justice, which is intended to run alongside the existing national curriculum.

Learning Resource Network (LRN)

The Learning Resource Network enables employers, education and training providers and others to work together to support workforce development. Through practical workforce partnerships it is increasing work based learning and improving access to learning resources for everyone working in social care. The LRN can be contacted through Skills for Care’s regional committees.

Leadership and Management Strategy

The Skills for Care Leadership and Management Strategy was launched at the October 2004 Social Services Conference. It is a significant contribution to implementing the national training strategy for social care, ‘Modernising the Social Care Workforce.’

The Leadership and Management Strategy documents are available to download free from the Skills for Care website, and include a main report covering the state of affairs in leadership and management, plus recommendations for action. There is also a comprehensive set of supporting materials to enable managers across the social care sector to implement the recommendations.

Sector Skills Agreement

Skills for Care is working on its Sector Skills Agreement for England in partnership with CWDC. The Sector Skills Agreement is designed to improve the quality of services by mapping out the skills required now and over the next five years. The strategy will also outline how key partners will work together to ensure that funding for training is targeted appropriately.


* Skills for Care
* Skills for Care & Development
* Children's Workforce Development Council

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