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Guidance for learners, managers and employers on completing qualifications

Advice and information for employers, managers and learners on what to expect from the assessment and completion of vocational qualifications in health and social care and children’s care, play, learning and development. The term manager is used to describe anyone in a service - such as a registered managers, mentors, line managers or supervisors - who support learners.

Who should use this guidance?

It tells employers and learners what to look out for when qualifications are being completed and assessed.

This guide is a summary of what is available on the Health and Care Learning Wales website.

You can find more information about each qualification, including its content, levels, structure, assessments and quality assurance arrangements, on the Health and Care Learning Wales website.

We update our guidance regularly to make sure they reflect current best practice.

How are qualifications provided?

Most vocational qualifications for health and social care, and early years and childcare in Wales are provided by learning providers approved by a consortium made up of City & Guilds and WJEC (the consortium). The consortium manages the quality of the qualifications provided and is overseen by the qualifications’ regulator, Qualifications Wales.

The consortium expects that every learning provider will work in partnership with employers and learners.

Some vocational qualifications are also provided by higher education institutes. They are quality assured by The Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies.

The qualifications can all be completed, or partially completed, through the medium of Welsh. This includes any teaching or learning, as well as any assessments. The process of completing and assessing the qualification will not be delayed because of the choice of language. This can help make sure that people who use services can use their language of choice.

How are qualifications assessed?

Each qualification is slightly different, depending on its level and purpose. But they all follow a similar pattern:

  • the assessor will carry out an initial assessment of the learner by looking at what they do in their role against the requirements of the qualification. They will also check if the learner has any additional needs they need to be aware of, to help make sure the learner can successfully complete the qualification. They will also consider any previous experience or qualifications to support completion of the qualification
  • the employer or manager, learner and assessor will meet to make sure everyone is clear about what they need to do and to decide any optional units or pathways the learner needs to complete
  • the learner, assessor and employer or manager will agree a learning plan, this will include milestones
  • the learning provider and the employer or manager will support the learner with their study
  • The assessor carries out a formative assessment to see if the learner is ready to be formally assessed for the qualification – the learner will not be put in for formal assessment until everyone is happy and confident they are ready.

Formative assessments check the learner’s understanding while they’re learning, using activities such as mini-assignments, case studies, multiple choice tests or quizzes.

Formal assessments are where the learner completes the tasks set by the consortium, they can include written work and practice observations.

Every qualification’s formative and formal assessment tasks will include a strong element of reflection.

Guidance for employers and managers

Why should you support your workers to get a qualification?

The Code of Professional Practice for Social Care Employers expects employers to “[p]rovide and support learning and development opportunities to enable social care workers to develop their knowledge and skills”.

Undertaking and achieving qualifications can be a rewarding experience for workers. Having a qualification also recognises their practice and the complexity of their role.

It can help them develop the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to become confident and motivated workers, which will help ensure they provide a good quality service that supports the people who use it to live fulfilled lives.

For some roles in social care, workers need to have a qualification to register with us or to meet the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016.

For some roles in early years and childcare, workers will need a qualification to meet Welsh Government policy or the National Minimum Standards. You can find more information on the Qualification Framework for Social Care and Regulated Child Care in Wales.

What is expected of you?

Your worker will need time and support from you to successfully complete their qualification. You will be expected to:

  • create a culture and environment that supports learning and development
  • allow workers the time and opportunity they need for teaching and learning
  • give your worker opportunities to discuss their progress and practise their skills
  • allocate a mentor or supervisor to support the worker while they’re completing the qualification and preparing for the assessment. You may ask this person to be a part of the assessment process.
  • be familiar with the qualification’s content, structure and assessment processes
  • work with your worker and their assessor to make sure the optional units or pathways chosen are appropriate for their role
  • at the start of the qualification process, let the assessor know if the worker has any additional learning needs or issues in accessing IT – make sure the worker is aware of what you have raised. If the worker has difficulties accessing IT, Digital Communities Wales can provide support, guidance and access to IT equipment
  • take part in discussions with the assessor about the plans for assessing the worker’s competence and the tasks they will need to complete
  • give the assessor feedback about the worker’s practice, where needed – they may ask you to observe the worker’s practice and have a follow up discussion if they can’t access the work setting to carry out their observations
  • work with your worker and their assessor to make sure the worker is ready for the qualification’s formal assessment
  • discuss any concerns raised about the worker’s readiness for the formal assessment with the assessor
  • release the worker for the formal assessment
  • help your worker to be their best to complete the qualification.
  • hclw.customer@cityandguilds.com for qualifications awarded by City & Guilds
  • hscandcc@wjec.co.uk for qualifications awarded by WJEC

You should expect your worker to be motivated and prepared to learn, and to commit to the time and the effort needed to complete the qualification.

You should not underestimate how much you will be involved in supporting your worker to complete their qualification. You will need to be significantly involved from the beginning to the end of the process.

Guidance for learners

Why do you need a qualification?

Completing a qualification can be a rewarding experience, and it can help you develop the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to become a confident and motivated worker.

Having a qualification recognises your practice and the complexity of your role. It can also help you provide a good quality service that makes sure the people who receive care and support live fulfilled lives.

For some roles in social care, you must have a qualification to register with us or to meet the Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016.

The Code of Professional Practice for Social Care also expects you to “be accountable for the quality of your work and take responsibility for maintaining and developing knowledge and skills”.

For some roles in early years and childcare, you will need to meet the requirements set by the Welsh Government or the National Minimum Standards. You can find information about this on the Qualification Framework for Social Care and Regulated Childcare in Wales.

What is expected of you?

You will need to commit time, energy and effort to successfully complete your qualification.

You will also need time and support from your employer or manager, as well as your assessor, to successfully complete your qualification. You will be expected to:

  • complete the learning tasks and activities set for you by your assessor by using your own work and not that of others
  • practise your skills and discuss your progress with your manager and your assessor
  • be familiar with your qualification’s content, structure and assessment processes
  • work with your manager and your assessor to make sure the optional units or pathways you choose are appropriate for your role
  • take part in discussions with your manager and your assessor about the plans for formally assessing your competence and the tasks you will need to complete
  • work with your manager and your assessor to make sure you’re ready for the formal assessment – if you feel you’re not ready, you should let them know so you can get extra support
  • discuss any additional learning needs you may have or issues accessing IT with your manager at the beginning of the qualification process
  • make sure you reflect the sector’s values and principles, and follow any codes of professional practice for your role
  • make sure you respect and keep the privacy and confidentiality of the people, children and young people you are providing care and support to, and that of their families and carers.
  • hclw.customer@cityandguilds.com for qualifications awarded by City & Guilds
  • hscandcc@wjec.co.uk for qualifications awarded by WJEC

What can you expect from your employer or manager?

You should be supported throughout your qualification by your employer or manager.

You should expect your employer or manager to:

  • create a culture and environment that supports your learning and development
  • give you time and opportunity for your learning and development
  • release you for any formal assessment of your qualification
  • give you regular opportunities to discuss your progress and practise your skills
  • make sure you have a mentor or supervisor who can support you while you’re completing your qualification
  • be familiar with your qualification’s content, structure and assessment processes
  • work with you and your assessor to make sure any optional units or pathways you choose are appropriate for your role
  • take part in discussions with you and your assessor about the plans for assessing your competence and the tasks you will need to complete
  • work with you and your assessor to make sure you are ready for your formal assessment
  • give your assessor feedback about your practice where needed – they may be asked to observe your practice and have a follow up discussion if your assessor can’t access your work setting to complete their observations.

What can you expect from your assessor?

Your assessor is responsible for supporting you while you complete your qualification. Your assessor will:

  • meet with you regularly to plan your learning and assessment, and review your progress – your manager should also be involved
  • make sure the work you do in your role can provide the evidence needed to achieve the qualification
  • make sure you are actively involved in supporting your learning
  • decide with you and your manager when you are ready to be formally assessed and make sure the assessment takes place at an agreed, convenient location for you
  • support you to complete all or part of the qualification through the medium of English or Welsh without being disadvantaged
  • respond to your questions, queries or concerns about the qualification and the assessment process
  • support you with any additional learning needs that have been identified
  • meet the requirements for assessing the qualification that have been set by the consortium – your assessor cannot change them.

Help and information on qualifications

What can you do if you're not happy with what has happened or is happening with a qualification?

If you’d like to raise a concern or make a complaint about an assessor, you can contact:

To find out which awarding body is responsible for which qualification, take a look at the Qualification Framework for Social Care and Regulated Child Care in Wales.

More information about qualifications

You can find information about the qualifications’ requirements, content, structure and the way they are assessed on the Health and Care Learning Wales website.

You can also find information about apprenticeship frameworks on our Apprenticeship Frameworks web page.