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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1.  What can I do with the ECC?

By having the ECC you can demonstrate your understanding of the basic knowledge needed to work in the social care sector.  The ECC will establish a comparable base for entry level care staff across Europe and provide an accessible and transferable certificate for workers and employers. This will make it easier for workers to find jobs in the care sector in other countries of the European Union and in places such as America and Australia where some employers sometimes find it difficult to understand 'national' awards - especially if they are are not written in English. 

Where there is stiff competition for a job, having the ECC may make all the difference between getting an interview and not getting one!


2. Does the ECC relate to health care or social care?

In German speaking countries and in Portugal there is a big difference between the health care sector which is often referred to by the term "care" (German: "Pflege") and the social care sector. The ECC is intended to provide enough basic knowledge to work at entry level in the social care sector. In countries like the UK there is often a big overlap between the role of healthcare assistants and social care assistants.  The ECC covers most of the the induction requirements for entry level health and social care workers in the UK.


3. Is there an ECC training course?

There is a training course which cover the learning outcomes of the BESCLO. It is called Best Practice in Social Care and is available from the Lead Partners in every language covered by the partnership. The ECC may be delivered in a number of ways (e.g. on a specific taught course, via distance learning, or wrapped inside a larger course), but its basic aim is to provide individuals with the basic knowledge required to work in care at an entry level.  The larger course could be a vocational or an academic one - there are NO set requirements about how you learn, how long it takes, where you learn or who 'teaches' you.  The only thing which matters is - do you really understand the learning covered by the BESCLO and can you prove it by passing the exam?


4. Could the ECC be adapted and delivered as part of existing training courses?

Yes - of course! In some countries the ECC basic learning outcomes might already be included in existing training.  For example in Germany that means, ECC will be included in the one year and three year courses of "Heilerziehungspflegehilfe" and "Heilerziehungspflege".  The ECC is a EC wide summary of the basic knowledge needed to work in the care sector.  In each country of the EC there may be additional requirements you will need to undertake if you get a job there.  For more information on working in certain European countries we will prepare“A brief guide to working in. . . .” which will be made available on our website.


5. Is the ECC a qualification?

In some countries - yes it is formally approved, but it is not yet approved everywhere. For example in the UK it is an Award set at level III of the EQF. In other countries it has been approved by the relevant Ministry of the central government or the local/regional authorities.

The ECC is not a qualification in itself in every country, but we hope to see many training courses demonstrate that they are  'ECC compliant' (that means the course covers all the things the ECC requires you to know).  The ECC is based on a set of basic social care learning outcomes. The achievement of the knowledge is assessed through a multiple-choice questionnaire. The ECC is not intended to provide evidence of competence or to replace existing qualifications for social care staff in participating countries.  

All European countries are introducing new National Qualification Frameworks which must be referenced to the European Qualification Framework.  The ECC has been approved as a qualification at level III of the EQF.


6. Who can offer ECC courses?

This will vary from one country to another.  ECC courses could be offered in various ways (distance learning, college, in work, etc) and by different training providers (a college, school, employer, etc).  One of the ECC Partners is a research institute and uses it on some of its mainstream social work courses, where it has become a recognised port-qualifying course.


7. Does ECC improve my chances in the labour market?

It will provide employers with evidence that the holder of the certificate understands enough basic knowledge to work in the sector, and therefore could open up opportunities to work across Europe where the ECC is recognised. The ECC will promote a common EU-wide understanding of the values and quality we should find in social care services. ECC holders could be in a better position to work in a wide range of EU countries where employers recognise the ECC.  Past experience has shown that having the ECC can differentiate you from a mass of people all applying for the same job.


8. How much will it cost to get the ECC?

This will vary from one country to another, and on how any training course you might do is delivered.  Please note you don't have to do any formal training course, but you will stand a better chance of passing the exam if you do. Depending on how and where you learn, there may be a charge from your training organisation (or employer) to cover the cost of any course you do in addition to the cost of sitting the exam.


9. How many/in which countries is the ECC operating?

There are now 20 Lead Partners covering 20 EU member states.   For more information click on the tab "where can I get the ECC?"


10. Are there any entry requirements to become a candidate?

The main requirements are that the candidate must be a minimum of 16 years of age, and must have a basic level of literacy (reading and writing) in the language of the country where the test is being taken.

Learners do not need to have previous experience in the social care sector, do not need to be in employment and do not need to have gained any previous qualifications.


11. How will the ECC contribute to improve the quality of services offered?

ECC courses could come from universities, training organisations, schools and employers in every country and will promote a common EU-wide understanding of the values and quality we should find in social care services.


12. What are the areas of knowledge are  covered in the ECC?

The ECC provides training / knowledge in the following main areas:

-Values of social care

-Promote life quality for the individuals you support

-Working with risk

-Understanding your role as a care worker

-Safety at work

-Communicating positively

-Recognise and respond to abuse and neglect

-Develop as a care worker


13. If I think that my knowledge already covers those areas do I have to do the training anyway or can I just do the assessment?

You can contact an ECC delivery partner and try to be included in the next assessment test to verify if your knowledge is indeed compliant with it.  Some experienced people do pass the exam without any prior learning or preparation, but most people who do it this way fail.  Experience tells us that some training and preparation greatly increases the chances of you passing.

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