Choosing Workforce Learning Guide

This guide “Choosing Workforce Learning” from Skills for Care has been designed to help those in adult social care select and purchase learning and development for their workforce.

In this guide you will find advice on:

  • identifying the learning needs of your workers
  • the questions you need to ask to develop a learning package for your organisation
  • finding the right learning provider for your organisation.


Guideline list for purchasing training

This is a simple guideline list of questions for care providers to consider and ask a training provider when looking to purchase training.

About training courses

  1. What does the course cover?
  2. What are the objectives of the course?
  3. How recently was the course updated?
  4. What follow-on training is available for my workforce?
  5. Can you design a course for me, or tailor an existing one to meet my needs?
  6. Does the course lead to a qualification or accreditation?
  7. How is the course assessed (exams, course work, practical, etc)?

The training arrangements

  1. Where does the training take place?
  2. When is it provided?
  3. How long does the course last?
  4. What are the minimum and maximum class sizes?
  5. How long do the classes take?
  6. When and where do the exams or assessments take place?
  7. Can you match the training to the individual person’s learning style?
  8. Can you provide the correct and appropriate evidence within the required timescales to meet additional funding that I can apply for (e.g. Workforce Development Fund)?


  1. How much does the course cost?
  2. Are there any other costs (e.g. books, materials, software)?
  3. Am I going to have to put in some of my own time?
  4. Are there penalties if my employees do not complete their courses or are absent?

Payment arrangements

  1. When do I have to pay for registration?
  2. What are the payment arrangements after the course has been completed?
  3. Are there exam fees?
  4. Are there any grants available?

Evidence of quality training

  1. What other care providers use you’re training courses?
  2. Do you have references from other employers that have used your service?
  3. Do you have accreditation from trade bodies (e.g. Health and Safety Executive)?
  4. What is the extent of the trainers’ experience of the care sector?

Services for employers

  1. Do you do a pre-course assessment for each staff member who is training with you?
  2. Do you offer mentoring or support for those who are having difficulties on the course?
  3. What is the complaints procedure?
  4. What is the system for reporting on progress?

Training facilities

  1. Is there a work-based or work-simulation environment?
  2. What equipment do you use?
  3. What version of software etc do you use?
  4. Is the equipment or software available on-site or can it be accessed somewhere else?
  5. Do you offer distance learning or online learning (e-learning)?
  6. What facilities and support are in place for learners with special educational needs?

Additional facilities

  1. Is there a crèche, and if so, what are the hours and costs for using it?
  2. What are the parking arrangements?
  3. How easy is it to reach the premises by public transport?
  4. What is the accommodation like (classrooms, workshops, etc)?
  5. What are the arrangements for disabled people?
  6. Do you offer help for speakers of other languages?

Why invest in learning

So why should you invest in learning and development?

As an employer and provider of care services, you need to ensure that your workforce is competent to undertake their roles to high standards of professionalism, respect and sensitivity.

As a good employer you will be able to evidence the competence of your workers to deliver quality care services to appropriate regulators and to the commissioners of your services, whether local authorities or private individuals. However there is a real need to ensure money and time are wisely spent on purchasing the right learning and development. All learning needs to deliver positive and meaningful outcomes for your workers, your business and the people who use your service.

There are a wide range of benefits from investment in qualifications. As a sector we need to raise ambitions for a skilled workforce demonstrated through qualification achievements. Business benefits include:

Quality service – Completion of accredited qualifications develops a professional culture within the organisation and results in highly skilled and competent workers that support the provision of high quality services for the people who you support.

Marketability –The achievement of accredited qualifications provides external validation for the quality of your workforce. They demonstrate current best practice to a benchmark in which you and the people who use your service can have confidence. Customer satisfaction is increased and the reputation of the organisation is enhanced both with new people you might support and when recruiting new workers.

Retention – Workers who receive structured learning and development feel valued, supported and engaged with their organisation. They develop confidence, self-esteem and greater job satisfaction and are more likely to remain in their post. This can reduce turnover meaning you are spending less on recruiting new workers.

Safety – You want to be sure that your workers contribute to the quality of care rather than making dangerous and expensive mistakes. Learning, development and qualifications in the key areas of health and safety provide reassurance about their confidence and competence.

In summary, developing your people and improving their skills can:

  • increase quality of work and personalised delivery of care services
  • improve customer satisfaction
  • improve employee motivation
  • reduce turnover and absenteeism
  • help you adapt to change and achieve business sustainability.

View the full document “Choosing workforce learning” from Skills for Care at:

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