Career Clinic: Training standards for those working with people with learning disabilities

Q: I have just started work in a day centre for adults with learning disabilities. I did the Topss Induction programme in my last workplace. I understand that I will have to gain a different qualification to work with people with learning disabilities. Can you explain what I need to do, please?

Well done on achieving your common induction into social care (CIS). This gives you a firm base from which to build your learning disability-specific qualifications and means that you will have a head start.

The learning disability induction award is available at levels two and three. Like the CIS, it covers much of the knowledge required for core NVQ levels two and three, so again you will not have to duplicate learning but can transfer it from one award to the other.

The learning disability induction is made up of four units with parallel units depending on the level. The four units are: principles of learning disability support your role as a learning disability worker health and safety in a learning disability environment and protecting people with learning disability from abuse.

The learning outcomes are the same for both levels but the assessment criteria are different and you will need to show evidence of greater knowledge and insight at level three. Many of the skills you will have learned on the CIS will transfer into the learning disability induction award, which will then transfer into the care and health NVQ levels two and three. But watch out too for some new knowledge sets for learning disability which will offer even more flexible learning building blocks.

It is always good practice when you move jobs to refresh your skills and knowledge through training offered by employers in their induction package. People with learning disabilities need support from workers with a high level of skills and knowledge. It is important that all workers understand the ways they can increase choice and promote independence for all people with learning disabilities. The service is changing fast and you will need to take responsibility for your own professional development to keep pace.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection and Valuing People guidance states that workers supporting people with a learning disability should complete learning disability-specific qualifications.

Four awarding bodies now offer the learning disability induction award: the National Open College NetworkCity and Guilds,   Edexcel and Education Development International. Other useful websites to get information about learning disability qualifications are: and

Andrea Rowe is chief executive of Skills for Care. She is answering your questions in a personal capacity

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