The European Care Certificate in brief
The European Care Certificate (ECC) is a Europe-wide qualification that has been developed to cover the basic knowledge that is required for an individual to work in a health and social care setting. The ECC is aimed at trainers, employers and staff in the sector.
The ECC was developed by the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities in partnership with organisations active in the social sector from 17 European countries.
The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) is a non-profit European umbrella organisation, established in 1996 and currently representing over 17.000 social and health services for persons with disabilities in 33 European countries. EASPD advocates for effective, high-quality, individualised and user-centred services in all areas of life for persons with disabilities which are in line with the principles enshrined in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD).
The ECC is based on the rights, inclusion, choice and independence of people with disabilities and supports the human rights model of care provision. It follows the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD), which has been endorsed by the EU as a whole.
The ECC Certificate tests and verifies that a worker has covered the Basic European Social Care Learning Outcomes (BESCLO) which are recognised across the ECC partner countries. In this way, the ECC establishes a comparable base for knowledge of entry level care staff across Europe and provides an accessible and transferable certificate for workers and employers. This will make it easier for workers to find jobs in the care sector in your country and in other countries of the European Union.
Why was the ECC developed?
The care sector is an important source of job growth in Europe. Social service provision is also one of Europe’s biggest job creators with over 10,9 million professionals across the European Union and with over 2 million new jobs created in the last decade alone.
Europe has an ageing population which will require increased social care services to meet the needs of people with limiting long term conditions and disabilities. In the last two decades, the nature of formal care has been changing from institutional to personalised care. Care can cover both physical care but also includes ‘enabling’ people to be independent and as active as possible. With the provisions brought by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, there is now a growing focus on ‘enabling’ people to live their lives and away from ‘doing things to people’. Increasingly, care is delivered in people’s homes as well as in community and residential settings. Care services contribute to: supportive living environments, providing protection and supporting full citizenship.
The quality of care also depends on the quality and the knowledge of the care workers. The European Care Certificate provides a standard statement of the basic knowledge which social care staff should know in the human-rights approach of care support. This provides employers with evidence that the holder of the ECC understands basic knowledge to work in the sector.
The ECC demonstrates understanding of the basic knowledge needed to work in the social care sector.
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 find work in the care sector in the home country or 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.
Individuals do not need to have previous experience in the social care sector or to be in employment and do not need to have gained any previous qualifications.
Individuals do need to have a basic level of literacy (reading and writing) in the language in which the test is being held and to be at least 16 years old. The ECC exam is available in multiple languages. You can take the ECC exam as an online exam or as a paper-based exam. It normally takes a maximum of one hour to complete.
Check to see if the ECC is available in your country (check "Where is ECC available?). If this is available, contact the lead partner who will be able to provide you with information about when and how the examination can be organized.
The ECC has been approved as a qualification at level III of the EQF.
The ECC is not intended to provide evidence of competence or to replace existing qualifications for social care staff in participating countries. 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 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 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
These areas have been considered as important for entry level workers to know in the care sector, by a survey made to employers/service providers, training providers, and stakeholders across Europe. The ECC will not replace existing training or qualification requirements for those workers who have them.
The BESCLO are the Basic European Social Care Learning Outcomes. The BESCLO move away from the old medical model of disability towards a human rights approach in social care services. They support the new thinking required by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Besclo area Learning Outcomes
The ECC partnership has developed training courses specifically designed to help employees, training providers and education institutions train staff in all areas of the BESCLO and pass the ECC exam. The courses are:
1. The European Care Certificate (ECC) course
“Best Practice in Social Care” – Meeting core European social care learning outcomes
This training course is offered complete with learning materials, exercises, overheads and slides all tailored to the 8 areas of the BESCLO and the provision of social care in your country.
2. European Care Certificate Train-the-trainer course
“Doing things right in Social Care” – Training guidance for trainers delivering the ‘Best Practice in Social Care’ Course
This train-the-trainers course is a short course for trainers to help them understand and practice all the training techniques used in the ECC training course.
3. European Mentoring in Social Care training
This course (based on the UN CRPD principles) is a complete training package for experienced workers to train them to become mentors in the social care workplace. Mentoring improves staff performance and also the quality of care delivered to the people those staff support. This course is freely available in English here and in other languages here.
All these three courses are freely available in several languages and have been ‘localised’ to make them more culturally and practically suitable for use in those countries.
Yes, this is possible. Colleges, universities, trainers and employers can take this standard statement (the Basic European Social Care Learning Outcomes – BESCLO) and make sure their own local training or qualification covers all the points in the BESCLO. This coverage can be checked and the course/training promoted as being ‘ECC compliant’ or ‘covers 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.