Why do carers need formal qualifications?

There is no legal requirement for carers to possess formal qualifications before beginning a career in care work. And yet, many employers, in particular care agencies and home care providers choose to request formal qualifications and certificates. You may be wanting to jump straight in to care work, but without qualifications it may be very difficult for you to find a job. So, why is this – and what are people looking for in the carers they hire?

Trust and confidence

Handing over care of a loved one can be a hard decision for family and friends to make. It can often help to know that the person who will be caring for that loved one has completed a level of formal training. For care agencies, it is important to maintain a professional appearance and guaranteeing a level of standardised training for all carers enhances this especially for live in care jobs, and increases trust and confidence in the organisation and its employees. Qualifications that employers are most likely to ask for are an NVQ or QCF. These qualifications show both the client and employer that you have been trained in the most important aspects of care work and have been assessed as competent. Whilst personality and experience are key factors in getting a job as a carer, a person who possesses both of these things in addition to a formal qualification will stand a better chance of employment. However, if an employer is able to see your clear potential, they may be willing to offer a job on the basis that you will agree to work towards a qualification.


Standardisation of skills

Since 2015, all new employees starting a job in care work are required to complete a Care Certificate. This new, formal training schedule takes around 12 weeks to complete and requires the employee to demonstrate competency in 15 different areas. When inspecting residential care premises, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will request that an employer demonstrates how workers are meeting their job responsibilities. Evidence that the Care Certificate has been completed is the best way to show that requirements are being fulfilled. The Care Certificate clearly documents that a care worker has been trained and assessed and possesses the necessary skills, knowledge and behaviours to provide appropriate care to clients. It also ensures that a consistent level of training and competencies have been reached by all people doing the same job, ensuring a level of standardisation.


Vulnerability of clients

The reality is that carers are required to look after some of the most vulnerable people in society. They often need to carry out personal care unsupervised, this is particularly stark for carers that provide their services to clients in their own home. Unfortunately there have been news stories about some unscrupulous people who have abused their position. Undertaking formal training is a good way of showing the client and the client’s relatives that you have been assessed formally and deemed qualified to carry out this personal care. It shows a level of commitment and professionalism which can serve to provide reassurance.

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