Information and guidance

Find out more about the qualification framework and how it can be used, what the criteria for including qualifications are and how the framework can support your professional development. Search qualification framework.

How the qualification framework can be used

The qualification framework can be used to help find:

  • the required or recommended qualifications in a service area
  • the required or recommended qualifications for a job role
  • what induction is required
  • what will be useful or required for updating, maintaining and progressing skills and knowledge.

The qualification framework can also help:

  • raise staff knowledge, competence and confidence
  • make sure people hold appropriate qualifications during recruitment
  • set service standards during commissioning
  • standardise training and assessments that are being commissioned and provided
  • the development and agreement of an organisation’s policies
  • succession planning for crucial people in services
  • personal development and progression planning for staff
  • workforce planning and career advice
  • the checking of older qualifications and those from other UK nations
  • inspection and regulation of services by Care Inspectorate Wales
  • quality assuring and monitoring by commissioners or responsible individuals. 

For some job roles and service areas there are specific requirements for practice:

  • the qualifications required by regulations, legislation and national minimum standards (NMS) in social care or early years childcare
  • the qualifications workers and managers are required to have to register with Social Care Wales. 

Other services and roles where these requirements do not apply (non-regulated roles) have recommended qualifications. These will ensure people have appropriate and transferable qualifications, knowledge and skills.

What are the criteria for including qualifications in the framework?

The required qualifications, which should all be available bilingually, have been agreed with a range of partners to reflect the needs and principles below. These are known as “design principles”:

  • based on the National Occupational Standards that are appropriate to the needs of the sector
  • competence is assessed in the workplace
  • subject to external verification
  • based on reliable and robust demonstration of employer and service needs
  • can be aligned to qualifications frameworks across the UK
  • have a structure that allows progression routes, as well as opportunities to study breadth and/or depth of knowledge and skill
  • can respond flexibly to the needs of the sector and its learners, including delivery models, language and accessibility
  • recognise different types of learning, knowledge, skills and competence.

How do the induction frameworks fit in?

There are two main induction frameworks for the workforce the All Wales induction framework for early years and childcare and the All Wales induction framework for health and social care (AWIF). 

All Wales induction framework for early years and childcare

The framework provides a structure for a common understanding to induction and outlines the knowledge and skills new workers should meet in their first six months of employment. There is a requirement within current regulations and National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare for children up to the age of 12 years that all practitioners should receive induction training, which includes health and safety, and child protection policies and procedures, during their first week of employment.

Who should complete this induction framework? 

Regardless of whether they are employed full time, part time, sessional or as a volunteer, the induction framework should be completed by workers who:  

  • are new to the early years childcare sector
  • are new to an organisation or setting
  • are undertaking a new role
  • have previous experience in a different sector
  • are returning after a career break, or
  • are a current member of staff as a tool to support continuing professional development.

If the worker has been employed previously, they do not need to complete the full induction framework, but they may be required to complete some parts of it.

Find more information about the induction framework for early years and childcare.

All Wales induction framework for health and social care (AWIF)

The framework creates a firm basis for new workers to help them develop their practice and future careers, in and across the health and social care sectors. It also provides a clear understanding of the knowledge, skills and values that are needed to make sure new workers are safe and competent to practice at this stage of their development. The induction framework is designed for social care workers and healthcare support workers. It covers care and support for adults, and children and young people. The induction framework has the same learning outcomes as those included in the health and social care ‘core’ qualification.

Who should complete this induction framework?

Regardless of whether they are employed full time, part time, sessional or as a volunteer, the induction framework should be completed by workers who:

  • are new to the sector
  • are new to an organisation or setting
  • are undertaking a new role
  • have previous experience in a different sector
  • are returning after a career break, or
  • are a current member of staff as a tool to support continuing professional development.

If the worker has been employed previously, they do not need to complete the full induction framework again, but they may be required to complete some parts of it to show their competence in their new work setting.

The induction framework has been designed and developed so it can be used by all care and support workers.

Find out more information about the induction framework for health and social care.

Continuing professional development and post-registration training and learning (PRTL)

Continued personal and professional learning and development is the ongoing maintenance and growth of knowledge and skills throughout life. This keeps people motivated, develops specialist skills and underpins high quality care and support services. People may learn new things and how to support more complex ways of working and situations. It can help the achievement of career goals and build confidence and commitment.

Continuing professional development can take many forms, including informal methods such as:

  • a reflection on your own work and what could be done differently
  • watching a demonstration
  • ‘buddying’ or shadowing a more experienced or specialist person (including a carer or individual using the service)
  • research and reading. 

More formal methods might be:

  • attending a course or conference
  • completing a qualification
  • completing a specialist unit or pathway from the qualifications
  • e-learning and webinars
  • coaching or mentoring
  • taking part in action learning sets. 

Continuing professional development is a requirement of a person’s registration with us and is expected by service regulations. There may be a minimum amount of updating and development that must be shown. 

Find out more information about PRTL

Resources for further guidance and support include:

Qualifications not in the framework

Playwork

Those working in regulated childcare settings with children between the ages of five to 12 years old may need to complete a playwork qualification set by SkillsActive to meet NMS and regulatory requirements.

You can find more information at:

There are specific requirements for managers from September 2021. Where a childcare setting provides for children between the ages of 0 to 12 years, the person in charge should hold both:

  • a level 3 childcare qualification recognised on the qualification framework, and
  • a level 3 playwork qualification or a smaller award as recognised on the SkillsActive List.

The person in charge of a registered play setting for children up to the age of 12 years should hold:

  • a level 3 playwork qualification recognised on the SkillsActive List.

The person in charge of a holiday play scheme should hold:

  • a level 3 playwork qualification, as set out in the SkillsActive List.

Non-supervisory staff who are included in the ratios of qualified staff will also need to undertake a Level 2 playwork qualification from the SkillsActive List.

See the circular letter Future changes to the National Minimum Standards for Regulated Childcare for children up to the age of 12 years (April 2016) regarding Standard 13: Staffing. 

In respect of childminders, there are no changes to the requirement to complete an appropriate pre-registration course as this already takes account of the needs of older children.

Equivalence and prior learning

A qualification already held by a worker may seem the same or similar to one listed in this framework. Social Care Wales will not be able to check this for each person, only those who are required to register. Only the qualifications in this framework are accepted in Wales as required or recommended, but alternative qualifications or previous learning you have could go a long way towards meeting the requirements.

Awarding Bodies may be able to help you match evidence of learning against what is required by the qualifications in this framework. This is known as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL). Where a worker wants to gain employment in Wales and there is a required qualification for registration, but their qualification is not listed in this framework they can apply to Social Care Wales for an assessment of equivalence if they meet the following criteria:

  • the qualification is based on competence, such as the National Occupational Standards relevant to the role
  • the person has been assessed in the workplace
  • the person must have been in a relevant role while the qualification was undertaken
  • the person must have been in a relevant setting while the qualification was undertaken.

Qualifications gained outside Wales   

There are differences between the qualifications on offer across the UK nations. Social Care Wales works with its UK partners to ensure there are no unnecessary barriers to the portability of qualifications and workers across UK borders. 

Workers who have gained their qualification in Wales but wish to work in another UK country will need to contact the relevant Sector Skills Council for advice

England:
  • Skills for Care (adult social care)
  • Department of Education (children’s social care and early years and childcare)
Northern Ireland:
  • Northern Ireland Social Care Council
Scotland:
  • Scottish Social Services Council.

Contact us

If you have a question you can Contact us.

Last updated: 24 June 2019