Skills for Care scheme for European qualification gathers pace

A qualification for social care that is valid throughout Europe is being developed by UK workforce umbrella body Skills for Care and Development.

Along with organisations in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Portugal and Romania, the UK body is looking to establish a European Care Licence that could be piloted next year. The qualification would embody a basic level of knowledge required to enter care work in countries that sign up to the scheme.

Richard Banks, head of workforce development at Skills for Care, the adult care training body for England and part of the UK’s umbrella group, said: “If someone had the European Care Licence they would know certain things, which is different from competence.”

Banks linked the move to the increasing number of care workers from Europe working in the UK, and the number of UK expatriates requiring care abroad such as in Spain and Portugal. He added that if successful it would be extended beyond the current range of countries.

The government has said that UK care and senior care worker jobs should typically be open only to nationals from the European Economic Area – the EU plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Iceland – despite a long history of migrants from outside Europe working in the sector. The Home Office sparked a row with care home bosses in August when it issued guidance that non-EEA immigrants working in senior care roles could only have their work permits renewed if they were paid £7.02 an hour, an above-average wage in the country.

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