care trainingLike any job in health and social care, you need training to be a safe and effective care worker.

In this article, we'll look at the background needed to enter the profession as well as instruction you can expect on the job.

Whether the training's compulsory or performed voluntarily, it's all intended to improve your knowledge and skills as a practitioner.

Some care workers may use their initial training as a foundation to gain further qualifications and progress in their career, which is often highly encouraged.

So lets take a look.

Care Worker Qualifications and Experience

If you're considering care work as a career, you may be unsure what academic qualifications you need. 

Most employers won't require any specific academic background like GCSE's or A-levels. In the case of care work, other attributes are more important. 

Similarly, no specific experience is needed before applying for a position, as training will be provided on the job by your employer . 

As such, the most important skills to bring to the job are a good attitude, communication and a willingness to get stuck in. 

It's important to demonstrate to a potential employer that you have an affinity for care. This may include having cared for a family member or friend, or simply being inspired by the professional input they might have received.

You can further demonstrate your credentials by volunteering for a local charitable organisation or applying for a care worker apprenticeship to learn more about the role.

The more experience and commitment you bring to the job, the better. It shouldn't matter if you're an older applicant or coming from an unrelated profession; care employers seek compassionate, motivated individuals, sensitive to the needs of their clients.

Many of our care workers view the position as more of a calling and bring an array of life experience to their work. 

Care Certificate

To ensure that health and social care providers offer a safe and effective service to their clients, care workers are expected to demonstrate competence in 15 core areas.

These standards comprise what is now called the Care Certificate, and was introduced in 2015, replacing the Common Induction Standards (CIS) and National Minimum Training Standards (NMTS). The training looks to build upon the CIS and NMTS and supplement any existing qualifications.

The Cavendish review, which ultimately resulted in the Care Certificate, aims to provide fundamental standards across health and social care, written in language that's meaningful both to patients and the public.

Although it isn't mandatory and other forms of training may be utilised, the Care Certificate is the guide against which the Care Quality Commission will assess the competence of all new staff. 

The Care Certificate:

  • Is applicable throughout health and social care services
  • Is portable across roles and between employers - The main intention and benefit of the Care Certificate is that it's transferable, so whether you work in domicilary care or a care home with nursing, it still applies
  • Prioritises new staff, new to care
  • May be completed in 12 weeks for new staff, although the timeframe could vary depending on the hours worked by the employee, their previous experience and the teaching methods utilised by an employer
  • Is the responsibility of employers, who must provide quality assurance
  • Offers a recognised certificate of achievement which can be placed on an electronic staff record in the case of the NHS or be kept locally by your employer
The CQC have set the standards to be achieved, and the Care Certificate promotes competence through practice and supervision, rather than simply the attendance of staff trainings.

Additional knowledge, skills and training might also be important, depending on the requirements of your specific job role.

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Care Certificate Standards

1. Understand your role

Including how your role fits within the scope of your employer guidelines, understanding key working relationships in health and social care and the importance of strong partnerships to deliver effective care.

2. Your personal development 

Developing knowledge, skills and understanding of the job role, in addition to professional reflection via a personal development plan.

3. Duty of care 

Understanding your duty as a care professional, including how to deal to with incidents and complaints, difficult situations and where to seek support.

4. Equality and diversity

Promoting inclusion; respecting clients' values, beliefs and cultures, thereby reducing potential discrimination.

5. Work in a person centred way

Understanding that all clients are individuals and their care and support plan must reflect this. Care staff should recognise any environmental factors, mobility issues and/or pain that could cause an individual distress, and address them to improve wellbeing. This could include lighting, warmth or repositioning to comfort a client.   

6. Communication

Understanding the importance of effective communication in the role, such as how to adapt to an individual's language needs using verbal and non verbal techniques, while respecting confidentiality.

7. Privacy and dignity

Promoting the privacy and dignity of clients who may be considered vulnerable. Examples include knocking before entering a room, asking a client for consent before treatment and ensuring they're suitably clothed. The facilitation of clients to make informed choices and become active participants in their care is covered, while information and client privacy is emphasised.

8. Fluids and nutrition

Understanding the importance of fluid and nutrition in promoting health and wellbeing. Care workers should ensure clients are well-nourished, adhering to their plan of care.

9. Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disabilities

Promoting awareness of the signs and symptoms of these conditions and how these individuals may react in certain situations, as well as any care adjustments required to meet their needs. Understanding the legalities surrounding these conditions and how mental capacity may affect consent and advance statements.

10. Safeguarding adults

Outlining the principles of safeguarding and how vulnerable clients may be at risk from harm or abuse. Identifying factors which could contribute to such situations, what to do to reduce the likelihood of these events and the action to take in response.

11. Safeguarding children

If working in health, ensuring that employees meet training standards for safeguarding children at level one, as determined by The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. If working in social care, ensuring employees are aware of their responsibilities if a child is suspected of being subject to abuse or neglect.

12. Basic life support

Demonstrate competence in performing basic life support as set out by the UK Resuscitation Council.

13. Health and safety

Understanding the current legislation around health and safety in the workplace, including individual employee and employer responsibilities. Awareness of risk assessments, moving and handling, medication management, hazardous substance procedures, fire safety, accident response, secure working, and stress management.

14. Handling information

Awareness of the legislation of reading, handling and storing information. Foster clear and accurate record keeping and secure storage.

15. Infection prevention and control

Knowledge of infection spread, including typical causes and preventative measures necessary in the workplace.

The Care Certificate doesn't replace an employer's normal induction process, but rather constitutes a core component from which staff work competency can be ensured. Induction processes may ultimately vary between organisations and be tailored to reflect their individual mission.