Why should the Level 4 Diploma be part of your Workforce Development Strategy?
An interview with the first cohort of learners to complete the new Level 4 Diploma in Adult Care
The Level 4 Diploma in Adult Care qualification was designed to address a gap where staff in certain roles didn’t have a relevant route of progression, and were either stuck between the Level 3 Diploma for care staff, yet not having reached a managerial level to take the Level 5 Diploma, or in a role not allowing them to gather all of the evidence required for a full health and social care diploma.
Released in April 2015, it is aimed at Community Care or Support Officers, Care Assessment Officers, Rehabilitation, Re-Ablement or Independence Support Workers, and those in various Social Care positions.
This qualification acts as a bridge between Level 3 and Level 5, and provides a route to become qualified for those working in the sector but not necessarily providing hands on care and support. This offers staff a good route of progression with which they can further develop their skills, knowledge and practice.
UTS is one of the first to roll out the Level 4 Diploma to its customers, addressing a demand that’s particularly high amongst local authorities. The first group of learners to pass this qualification were enrolled by Hertfordshire County Council on a fast track programme to complete the qualification in 6 months due to current contracts.
The recommended time to complete the qualification is 18 months, so this first group has shown real dedication to their progression by becoming possibly the first group to ever finish the qualification.
We wanted to hear their feedback on their experience, to identify what they enjoyed about the qualification and learn what needed improvement.
Three learners who completed the qualification on the fast track route; Ravali, Kim and Berri, agreed to join us for an interview and let us know their thoughts on the qualification.
The following is a transcript of this interview
Dan: Thanks for joining me for this interview, it’s great to have the chance to ask for your feedback in person about this qualification.
Ravali: Thanks for inviting us here
Dan: So, what was it that encouraged you to take this qualification in the first place?
Kim: I had already completed a Level 3, so this was the next logical step for progression in my role. I was excited to take the qualification as it would lead to my Level 5 Diploma and eventually a masters degree in social work.
Ravali: I want to become a qualified social worker, and when I learned more about the qualification I thought it would be a great stepping stone for me to reach my goals
Berri: I needed the experience and qualifications to move into a new role as a Transition Co-Ordinator, and the level 4 has provided me with everything I needed to move up into the new role at Hertfordshire County Council. I’m very excited to start my new job next week!
Dan: It’s great to hear you were confident that this qualification would help you to progress, but how were you certain you would be able to complete it in 6 months on the fast track programme?
Berri: Right from the beginning we received a list of the units and criteria, and a plan of how we would work towards achieving each of them. It was very reassuring to know exactly what we needed to do and when, and to have support from an assessor all the way when we needed help.
Ravali: We were surprised at as we wouldn’t normally receive so much support and structuring, especially when compared to qualifications we’ve done in the past with different providers.
Kim: It was very well planned and structured, and as we completed our work against the plan we were kept well informed on how we were progressing the whole time. Whenever we needed help our assessor was there.
Dan: So what has your experience been like of taking this qualification? Anything good? Anything Bad?
Berri: I was really surprised at how stress free completing the qualification was, though this was definitely down to the great working relationship we developed with Hannah, our assessor. She always gave clear communication, taking us step by step to help us meet the criteria, providing advice, resources and further reading all the way through.
Ravali: Although I was quite worried at the beginning to take a new qualification, Hannah reassured us we had the ability to see it through. We were always prompted to do our best, and as we met each of the criteria it was really encouraging to know how quickly we were progressing!
Kim: I really appreciated the observations and constructive feedback we received, with good, honest communication on what we did well and what needed improvement. Having someone evaluate our practice confirmed for us that we were carrying out good practice, and gave us the confidence we were doing the right thing.
Dan: So would you say having a good assessor has been fundamental to your success?
Berri: Hannah always replied promptly to our emails and was approachable and friendly even outside working hours. It’s clear she has really good experience. She’s knowledgeable, delivered training sessions really well, and maintained professional boundaries during our observations. It was great to have support from Hannah; I don’t think we could have done it without her!
Dan: If there’s anything in particular, what would you say this qualification has meant to you, to your organisation, and to the people you support?
Ravali: For me personally it’s been a massive achievement, and has helped me become much more confident in what I do. As professionals, the knowledge and skills we’ve gained mean we can look at making changes internally, and identify gaps in services to make them better.
Kim: Taking the qualification has given us a tonne of theory for our role, and helped us reflect on how we can use it to deliver the best practice in our work every day. In particular having a good understanding of legislation like The Care Act has been hugely helpful. Also, being developed professionally means we can work independently to do things like research and further reading to learn about changes to legislation and anything else that affects our practice. It all enables us to accurately signpost people to services that will make a meaningful difference to their lives.
Ravali: It also means we can ensure that individuals are at the heart of services, and any facilities are accessible while they are supported all the way to access them. We’re confident to give people a lot more guidance and advice, safe knowing that it’s up-to-date, that helps them to exercise their rights.
Berri: I think the fact that Hertfordshire County Council put us through this qualification shows they’re willing to invest in us, to help us do better, more direct work with the people we support and deliver a much more person centred service. It means as staff we can carry out reviews and assessments effectively, and record and evidence these assessments, so that we can help people to overcome the barriers they face and access the support they need.
Dan: What recommendations do you have for to improve on the qualification and any support given?
Ravali: I was happy all the way through the course, well supported and encouraged with positive feedback. There isn’t anything I could say that I think would improve the delivery, or the support we received. All in all I’d say they got it spot on.
Dan: So if you were all to give a rating from between 1 and 10, with 1 being the lowest score, how would you rate your experience of taking this qualification with Unique Training Solutions
Berri: 10 / 10
Kim: 10 definitely
Dan: You all must be very pleased to have completed your Level 4 Diploma, but what’s next for you in your career?
Berri: Further down the line I want to take a role working in Psychology with Children, so I’m really pleased to have more skills to help me progress further. I’m super excited to move to my new Transition Co-Ordinator role and assisting families, parents and students to access transition services.
Kim: It’s also been a great source of progression for me to move into a H7 or H8 advanced practitioner level. I feel like I’m able to present evidence that we’re ready to move up to a role with greater responsibilities.
Ravali: Becoming a qualified care worker has been a big ambition of mine, so I’m really glad I’ve done this qualification. I’m going to take my Level 5 Diploma next, and although I know it’s going to be hard work I feel a lot more confident in my ability to finish it.
Dan: Would you recommend other learners to take this qualification, and other organisations to enrol their staff?
Ravali: I would recommend other organisations put learners through the level 4 programme, because of how individually tailored it is to them and to the role of each learner. It recommends the best practice specific to each worker’s role, helps them familiarise with the relevant legislation, and fully incorporates the organisation’s policies and procedures in the theory so all bases are covered.
Kim: I think that more organisations should put their staff through the qualification, as it means staff become qualified to higher levels, creating a skilled workforce to deliver a better service for the people we support. I would definitely recommend the qualification to those in the role of a Community Care Officer, as it helps them to grasp what’s required in their job, and supports them to further their career.
Berri: I’d recommend the qualification to others who want to progress but aren’t ready to take a Level 5 Diploma. If it makes staff much more confident and helps them to deliver better person centred care I would recommend it to anyone in a similar role.
Dan: And would you recommend UTS to others for the delivery?
Berri: I personally would, because I was really impressed at how well organised they were to help get us through the qualification, especially when compared to providers we’ve used in the past. It was great that they gave us everything we needed in a printed folder, as well as laptops for us to use when we came in for sessions. They made it simple yet professional.
Kim: The programme was exactly what we expected. I loved the support and delivery from our assessor in training sessions, and Hannah was always friendly and helpful. UTS always provided a comfortable learning environment.
Ravali: I’m still surprised we managed to finish in such a short time, completing it in a third of the recommended time was a huge achievement and I don’t think we could have done it without the support we received from Hannah and the rest of the team at UTS.
Dan: It’s wonderful to hear such good feedback from all of you! Thanks very much for taking the time to answer my questions.
Here’s what our assessor Hannah had to say about the learners and the qualification
Hannah: These three ladies all managed to complete an 18 month programme in a third of that time, having been fast tracked for completion. It really helped that Rauali, Kim and Berri were all so dedicated and committed to completing the qualification, and others who take this qualification will definitely need the resolve to get it completed. These ladies are rightly very proud of their achievement.
More information on the Level 4 Diploma in Health and Social Care and be found here: http://www.uniquetrainingsolutions.co.uk/courses/19/166/UTSQUAL041_Level-4-Diploma-in-Adult-Care
If you would like to discuss how this qualification can be of benefit to your organisation, please contact us on 01727 733999.