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What is mandatory training for care workers?
Our Support Team frequently receives the question, "What mandatory training is required for health and social care support workers?".
While health and social care support workers do not need any particular GCSEs, A-Levels or degrees to work in the sector, they must update their knowledge and skills through statutory and mandatory training.
In this article, we will discuss why mandatory training is necessary for care workers. We will also explain the care worker statutory and mandatory training courses in greater detail, including their key aims and recommended refresher periods.
Why is mandatory training necessary for care workers?
Health and social care managers should conduct training needs analyses and ensure their teams get mandatory and statutory training to minimise workplace risks. Training for health and social care workers is based on key legislation, such as the Health and Safety at Work Act, local authority requirements, and CQC requirements.
Health and safety awareness training is required by law for all care services, including basic risk assessment and fire safety training. Moving and handling objects and moving and assisting people are other statutory and mandatory courses for care workers. There are compulsory food hygiene/food safety courses for health and social care workers who handle food.
It's easy to get overwhelmed when you are a care manager trying to ensure your team's fully trained, but you need to know where to start. So you know exactly what's required, we have created this guide on mandatory training for care workers.
Our health and social care e-learning solutions have helped us work with various care services for over 20 years, helping them deliver better value and more effective learning and training. All core statutory and mandatory care worker training courses are included in these digital solutions.
Our experience putting together and constantly improving all our digital care training content has taught us a lot about training in the sector, so the articles we write should cover everything you need to know.
Core mandatory training for health and social care workers
Despite not needing a specific care worker qualification, there are mandatory care training requirements in health and social care.
The most common mandatory and statutory training courses for care workers are:
- Health, safety and welfare at work
- Fire safety awareness
- Manual handling objects
- People moving and handling
- Basic life support
- First aid at work/Emergency first aid at work
- Infection prevention and control
- Food hygiene/Food safety
- Medication management/Safe handling of medicines
- Nutrition and hydration
- Equality, diversity and human rights
- Effective communication
- Dignity, privacy and respect
- Oral health awareness
- Person-centred care
- Documentation, recordkeeping and reporting
- Safeguarding adults at risk
- Mental Capacity Act and Liberty Safeguards
- Safeguarding children and young people
- Conflict resolution/conflict management
- Management of long-term conditions.
Below, we will discuss these care worker statutory and mandatory training courses in greater detail, including their key aims and recommended refresher periods.
Health, safety and welfare at work
A healthy and safe work environment will protect care workers, reduce absences, and make the workplace more productive and efficient. The social care team should understand its responsibilities regarding health and safety in the workplace. They must be familiar with using risk assessments, handling hazardous substances, implementing security measures in the workplace, and managing stress.
Health and safety training falls under the CQC's fundamental standard of 'safety'. Knowledge and competency should be assessed by employers at least once a year, and learning and development opportunities should be offered every three years, as well as needed.
Fire safety awareness
Health and social care workplaces must maintain a high level of fire safety. As well as ensuring service users' safety, it protects employees, buildings, equipment, and other contents. The care manager should ensure all employees understand and know how to promote workplace fire safety.
Training in fire safety is part of the CQC's fundamental standard of 'safety'. According to BS 9999:2008 Code of Practice for fire safety in building design, management, and use, fire safety training should be updated at least once a year. Annual fire safety risk assessments and drills should also be conducted.
Manual handling objects
Significant risks and challenges can be associated with moving and handling in health and care settings. Work-related musculoskeletal disorders, such as manual handling injuries, are among the most common forms of occupational illness in the UK, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). In light of the nature, type, and frequency of the moving and handling activities undertaken, there are risks of injury to staff and service users, which should be minimised. To prevent injury to themselves and others, caregivers must be able to safely move and handle equipment and other objects.
Health and social care employers must provide training on key health and safety risks, which has been supplemented with additional guidance covering moving and handling activities.
It is recommended that an organisation employ/access a competent individual who can conduct a Training Needs Analysis to identify the ongoing moving and handling education and training requirements for each staffing group and job role within the organisation.
Training in the manual handling of objects is part of the CQC's fundamental standard of ‘safety’. According to HSE guidance, annual refresher training is generally considered a good practice.
People moving and handling
Assisting and moving people generally depend on the worker's role and responsibilities. Workers should receive the appropriate training in people moving and handling to:
- Ensure that an individual is moved and positioned safely.
- Use equipment within the care setting in a safe manner.
- Understand the current legislation, national guidelines, policies, procedures, and protocols relating to the movement and positioning of individuals.
- Apply their knowledge of human anatomy and physiology when moving and positioning individuals.
- Minimise risks when moving and positioning individuals.
- Seek others' advice and/or assistance (as necessary) when moving and positioning individuals.
Training in moving and assisting people falls under the CQC's fundamental standard of 'safety'. Learning, knowledge, and competency should be refreshed and assessed at least once a year and whenever a new risk arises.
Basic life support/Basic first aid
Health and care workers are expected to possess sufficient knowledge and skills for recognising and responding to signs of clinical deterioration. When health and care professionals can anticipate, identify, and respond to patient signs of deterioration, they can prevent further decline that might otherwise result in cardiac arrest.
Consequently, it has been a priority to promote greater awareness and understanding of the needs and care of deteriorating patients.
Despite prioritising preventing clinical deterioration, some patients will experience cardiorespiratory arrest and require cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The early and effective administration of resuscitation can save lives. Resuscitation techniques have been significantly improved due to research in the emergency care of collapsed individuals.
Health and care organisations must have a clear resuscitation policy to provide effective services. To maintain the level of resuscitation competence relevant to their role, health and care organisations must ensure that their workforce receives the appropriate training, including periodic updates.
It should be noted that the requirements stated are minimum standards that will apply to most workers in roles and settings where they may be required to provide initial CPR until advanced life support expertise and support arrives.
First aid at work/Emergency first aid at work
The term "first aider" refers to a person who has undergone first aid training that is appropriate for the situation. A valid certificate of competence in either of the following areas is required for first aiders:
- First aid at work (FAW)
- Emergency first aid at work (EFAW)
- Any other level of first aid training or qualification appropriate to the circumstances.
To determine the appropriate level of training for first aiders, employers can use the results of their first aid needs assessment.
Training in emergency first aid at work (EFAW) enables a first aider to provide emergency first aid to an injured or ill employee. The first aid at work course includes the EFAW syllabus and preparing the first aider for various injuries and illnesses.
It is strongly recommended for first aiders to undergo annual refresher training to maintain their basic skills.
The validity of a first aid certificate at work is three years. First aiders must complete a requalification course before their certificates expire to obtain another three-year certificate. Upon expiration of certificates, the first aider no longer qualifies to act as a workplace first aider.
Infection prevention and control
Employers and employees in the health and care sector are responsible for preventing and reducing the transmission of infectious diseases. Effective management of infections requires knowledge and competence to ensure the population's health.
Health and social care providers should always consider the following:
- Their roles and responsibilities in preventing and controlling infections at work
- Infection prevention and control legislation, regulations, and policies
- The importance of identifying hazards and assessing risks to prevent and control infections
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Infections that can be prevented and controlled through good personal hygiene.
Infection prevention and control training sit under the CQC fundamental standard of 'premises and equipment'. Employers should conduct an annual review of performance and assessment of knowledge and competence in the health and social care industry. Opportunities for learning and development should be provided every three years and whenever they are identified or needed.
Food safety/Food hygiene
Food safety measures must be taken by caregivers when preparing or serving food to individuals. Care workers who prepare or handle food should also be able to:
- Ensure that food and beverages are handled hygienically.
- Ensure that food and drink are prepared and served following safety requirements.
- Maintain safety standards when cleaning areas where food is prepared, handled and served.
- Ensure that food and drink are stored safely.
- Access additional food safety advice and support from relevant sources.
Training in food safety and hygiene falls under the CQC's fundamental standards of 'premises, equipment, and safety'. Food safety training is required by law for all caregivers who handle, prepare, or provide food.
Care workers should be closely monitored, and their knowledge and competence should be assessed annually. Care workers should be provided with learning and development opportunities at least every three years and whenever they are identified as needing it.
Medication management/Safe handling of medicines
Medication management skills and knowledge are essential for care workers. It involves overseeing the medications prescribed to service users to ensure they are taken correctly to achieve their intended goals. Care workers should only manage or administer medicines once they have received full training and been assessed for and completed the required training.
Care workers must understand the following:
- Key legislation, policies, and procedures relating to the administration of medications
- Most common types of medications and their uses
- Medication administration procedures and techniques
- Preparation for the administration of medication
- Safe administration and monitoring of medications.
Where necessary, additional training will include administering specific medicines, such as patches, creams, eye drops, liquids, and inhalers, as well as specific training for particular medications, for example, Buccal midazolam. Training relating to the safe handling and administration of medicines falls under the CQC fundamental standard of 'safety'.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends that care home staff receive regular refresher training and assess their knowledge and competence annually. Care workers' roles and responsibilities will determine the learning and development requirements. Training and competency checks must be relevant to the type of service provision and agreed responsibilities.
Communication is an essential skill for care workers. They must understand the importance of communication in health and social care and be able to accommodate individuals' communication needs and preferences. Care workers should make efforts to reduce barriers to communication. They should be able to apply principles and practices related to confidentiality at work.
The CQC fundamental standards of 'person-centred care' and 'dignity and respect' apply to communication. Care employers are required to monitor performance and assess knowledge and competence annually. Learning and development opportunities should also be provided at least every three years and as needed or identified.
Equality, diversity and human rights
All care workers should understand the importance of inclusion, equality, and diversity. They should be able to work inclusively and know how to access essential information, advice, and support on equality, diversity, and inclusion.
Equality, diversity and human rights training sit under the CQC fundamental standards of 'dignity and respect' and 'safeguarding from abuse'. Equality and diversity performance must be monitored, and knowledge and competence should be assessed at least once per year in the same manner as communication and dignity. Care employers are responsible for providing learning and development opportunities at least every three years when necessary.
Dignity, privacy and respect
All care workers must understand the principles that underpin dignity in care. By doing so, they can maintain their client's dignity, respect, and privacy.
Dignity, privacy and respect training sits under the CQC fundamental standards of 'dignity and respect'. Care employers are required to monitor their employees' performance and assess their knowledge and competencies annually. There should be opportunities for learning and development every three years and when their necessity has been identified.
Nutrition and hydration
Care providers should be familiar with the principles of hydration and nutrition to ensure the welfare and safety of their clients. Under the individual's care plan, the care team must be able to provide nutritional food and fluids to the individual. As part of their care plan, they should also be able to provide individuals with access to food and nutrition.
Training in nutrition and hydration is incorporated into the CQC's fundamental standard of 'food and drink'. Staff performance should be monitored, and knowledge and competence should be evaluated annually. Learning and development opportunities should be provided every three years and whenever necessary.
Oral health awareness
Health and care settings often overlook the importance of oral health. To provide daily personal care, care managers must ensure that their staff is aware of the following:
- The importance of oral health to a person's general health, well-being, and dignity
- Untreated dental pain or mouth infections that may adversely affect the behaviour, general health, and well-being of people who cannot ask for help or express distress
- The importance of reassessing oral health at regular intervals
- The best ways to deliver oral care daily
- Identifying oral health concerns and responding to an individual's changing needs and circumstances
- The importance of denture marking and how to arrange it with the individual's consent.
Oral health awareness falls under the CQC fundamental standards of ‘person-centred care’ and ‘dignity and respect’. Mandatory staff training includes oral health training. Care staff performance and an annual assessment of knowledge and competence should be monitored. The organisation should provide learning opportunities every three years.
Health and care teams must understand person-centred approaches to care and support. They must be able to work in a person-centred manner, establish consent when providing care and support, and encourage active participation. To support the rights of an individual to make choices, care providers must be capable of supporting the well-being of the individual.
Person-centred care training falls under the CQC fundamental standards of ‘person-centred care’ and ‘dignity and respect’. It is recommended that care managers monitor performance and assess knowledge and competence at least once a year. Learning and development opportunities should be provided every three years and when necessary.
Documentation, record-keeping and reporting
The documentation, record-keeping, and reporting requirements are essential for boosting teamwork and safeguarding the health and well-being of individuals. The care team must understand the need for secure handling of information in settings, be able to access support for handling information and be able to handle information in a way that is consistent with the procedures that have been agreed upon.
Documentation, record-keeping and reporting training fall under the CQC fundamental standards of ‘complaints handling’ and ‘good governance’. Managers must monitor the performance of care staff. Besides assessing knowledge and competency yearly, learning and development materials should be provided every three years and when necessary.
Safeguarding adults at risk
The purpose of safeguarding adults is to protect service users' health, well-being, and human rights. Safeguarding individuals is essential to protecting them from harm, neglect, and abuse.
Care workers must understand the following:
- Recognising different types of abuse
- Responding to suspected or alleged abuse
- Safeguarding and abuse prevention in the national and local context
- Reducing abuse
- Recognising and reporting unsafe practices
- Understanding online safety principles
- Linking safeguarding to domestic violence.
Safeguarding adults' training falls under the CQC's fundamental standard of 'safeguarding from abuse'. It is recommended that knowledge and competence be assessed annually and performance is monitored. Learning and development materials should be provided every three years and whenever necessary.
Safeguarding children and young people
The protection of children and young people from harm and providing a conducive environment for their development are essential societal values. Children and young people have the right to be protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect and bad treatment by their parents or others who are responsible for their care (United Nations, 1989).
Health and social care agencies must protect children and young people from harm. Effective safeguarding management depends on supportive and trusting relationships between children, their families, and health and care staff.
The role of health and care workers can play an important role in recognising child maltreatment. Thus, health and care professionals must be aware of the signs and symptoms of maltreatment and neglect. To improve identification and ensure appropriate support is put in place for children and young people in need or at risk, they will play a crucial role in recording, communicating, and sharing information. Children and young people are in need of health and care professionals who are capable of exercising professional judgment in ensuring their safety and welfare.
As a result, health and care organisations need to ensure that all staff involved in the care of children are aware of and understand safeguarding issues.
This subject learning materials and outcomes are based on the Intercollegiate 'Document: Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff'.
Mental Capacity Act and Liberty Safeguards
Regarding safeguarding liberty and mental capacity, care workers should be aware of the legal frameworks, policies, and guidelines. Additionally, they should understand what mental capacity means and how it affects how they provide care.
Mental capacity and liberty safeguards fall under the CQC fundamental standards of ‘person-centred care’ and ‘consent’. Care managers should yearly assess staff performance, knowledge and competence. Learning and development opportunities should be provided every three years when a need is identified or required.
Conflict resolution/conflict management
Working environments should be safe for staff. Violent behaviour adversely affects them personally and indirectly affects the delivery of patient care and the quality of service.
Conflict Resolution Training (CRT) is a crucial preventative tool for tackling violence against staff. It is part of various measures to make health and social care settings safer.
It is not enough to respond to incidents after they occur; we must find ways to reduce the risk of incidents and prevent them from happening in the first place.
Management of long-term conditions
Approximately 15 million people in England suffer from long-term health conditions. Chronic conditions, also known as long-term or chronic diseases, are conditions for which there is no cure and are managed through drug therapy and other treatments, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arthritis, and hypertension.
To provide quality care, care workers must be aware of the needs and experiences of individuals with specific conditions, including the following:
- Promoting positive health and well-being of individuals with specific conditions is important
- Care delivery adjustments that may be necessary based on a specific condition
- Specific legal frameworks, policies, and guidelines
- Supporting individuals with specific medical conditions.
Training for managing long-term conditions falls under the CQC fundamental standard of ‘staffing’. Annual assessments of knowledge and competence should be conducted, as well as performance monitoring. Learning and development opportunities should be provided whenever necessary or identified every three years.
Common mandatory training for homecare workers
In the table below, we have highlighted the most common mandatory training subjects for workers who provide homecare workers and the training sources.
|Type of Mandatory Care Training||Requirement Source|
|Health and Safety||• Health and Safety at Work Act 1974|
• Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
|Fire Safety||• Health and Safety at Work Act 1974|
• Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005
|Equality, Diversity and Human Rights||• Human Rights Act 1998|
• Equality Act 2010
|Infection, Prevention and Control||• Health and Social Care Act 2008: Code of Practice on the Prevention and Control of Infection and Related Guidance (Dec 2010)|
• Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
|Manual Handling||• Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992|
• Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
|Safeguarding Adults||• Care Act 2014|
• CQC Regulations
• Care Inspectorate Scotland
• Care Inspectorate Wales
• RQIA Regulations
|Safeguarding Children||• Care Act 2014|
• CQC Regulations
• Care Inspectorate Scotland
• Care Inspectorate Wales
• RQIA Regulations
CQC mandatory training requirements for care workers
In England, the Care Quality Commission is the independent regulator of health and social care. CQC has similar requirements and guidance to other national regulatory bodies (Care Inspectorate Scotland, Care Inspectorate Wales and the RQIA in Northern Ireland) about required training for care staff and relevant regulations regarding recruiting staff and the staffing level.
For clarity on any staffing-related matters, we recommend that you consult the guidelines offered by the health and care regulators. According to the CQC, health and social care providers are required to do the following when it comes to safe staffing:
- Provide the right number of care workers with the appropriate skills and experience to meet the needs of their clients.
- Ensure that care staff receives the necessary support, professional development, training, appraisals, and supervision to fulfil their responsibilities.
- Support care staff in obtaining further qualifications and providing evidence (if required) to the appropriate regulator that they meet the professional standards.
CQC may take regulatory action, including refusing registration, if these components are not in place or if a social care provider fails to provide satisfactory evidence of compliance.
Mandatory training duration for care workers
Mandatory training does not have an established timeframe, as long as the refreshers are completed as and when they are due in line with organisational risks.
However, support workers are usually required to complete the Care Certificate program.
The Care Certificate typically takes 12 weeks to complete. Caregiver training provides caregivers with the framework to ensure they have the same introductory skills, knowledge, and behaviours required for safe, compassionate, high-quality care.
In summary, there is no single list of mandatory courses that apply to all care providers. Mandatory training for care workers helps to ensure compliance with regulatory and statutory requirements, such as those set by the CQC, local authorities or commissioners. Care workers' mandatory and statutory training can be provided through an interactive e-learning platform or by an experienced in-person trainer. The majority of health care and social care organisations now use blended learning, which combines classroom training with work-based assessments and online learning.
eLearning for Health and Social Care by The Mandatory Training Group is an engaging online platform endorsed by Skills for Care. Using our eLearning platform, you can train and develop your care workers more cost-effectively, flexibly, and engagingly. No task is too big or small for us, and with our complete suite of care solutions, digitising your care business can be accomplished through a single supplier with over 20 years of experience.
Click here to see our wide range of accredited health and social care courses and training programmes. Feel free to contact us if you would like to speak with someone directly.
About the Mandatory Training Group
The Mandatory Training Group is one of the leading UK providers of CPDUK-accredited statutory and mandatory training, continuing professional development (CPD) courses, eLearning software and workforce development solutions for all sectors.
By making things simple and designing interactive e-learning content, we can provide meaningful training programs at all levels and enhance the capacity and resilience of individuals and organisations.
Click here to see our wide range of accredited statutory and mandatory courses and training programmes.
Related blog articles
Click on the links below to read more articles from our team:
- Employee statutory and mandatory training requirements
- What is mandatory training in health and social care?
- What is statutory training in health and social care?
- What is statutory and mandatory training for care homes?
- What is statutory and mandatory training for domiciliary care workers?
- What is the difference between statutory and mandatory training?
References and resources
Care Inspectorate Scotland (2023) - Welcome to the Care Inspectorate.
Care Inspectorate Wales (2023) - Care Inspectorate Wales.
Care Quality Commission (2022) - The fundamental standards.
Health and Safety Executive (2023) - HSE: Information about health and safety at work.
HM Government (2005) - Mental Capacity Act 2005.
HM Government (2014) - Care Act 2014.
National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2022) - Medicines management.
RQIA (2023) - Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority.
Royal College of Nursing (2019) - Safeguarding Children and Young People: Roles and Competencies for Healthcare Staff.
United Nations (1989) - Convention on the Rights of the Child.
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