Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. What is the ECC?

The ECC is being developed as a basic entry certificate in the care sector that we hope will become recognised and accepted across Europe. It is a pilot project running until September 2008 funded through the Leonardo Da Vinci funding stream of the European Commission. The ECC will provide employers with evidence that the holder of the certificate has the basic knowledge of care sector work. It will cover the knowledge needed for workers starting out in the care sector and could be delivered through work-based training, a single short course or as part of a wider/longer course.  It does not test the competence of candidates only their knowledge, and is not a substitute for any qualification or training requirements which already exist in countries of the EC, but could complement these.


2. Where can I get it?

At the moment the ECC has been piloted in Austria, Romania, Portugal and the United Kingdom.  There is a Lead Partner in each country offering the ECC supported by a number of Delivery Partner agencies who actually offer training and access to the ECC examination.   The list of current lead partners for each country and their local delivery partners can be found at the website.  Contact them for more information on materials available, future taught courses and ECC examinations.


3. What can I do with it?

You can demonstrate 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, there will be supporting information provided which will outline additional information and requirements to work in Countries delivering the ECC.


4. Does 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.


5. Is it a vocational training course?

The ECC may be delivered in a number of ways (e.g. a specific taught course, 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.


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

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.


7. Is the ECC a qualification?

The ECC is not a qualification in itself, but we hope to see many training courses demonstrate to be ECC compliant. 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.


8. Who can offer ECC courses?

This will vary from one country to another. We think that the ECC courses could be offered in various ways (distance learning, college, in work, etc) and by different training providers (a college, school, employer, etc).


9. Is there any "official" recognition?

At the moment the ECC is a pilot project running until September 2008. Because we are at an early stage, it is not an official award or qualification recognised by the ECC partner countries. We hope in time the ECC will become recognised across Europe.

The recognition will depend on each country's requirements. Each country will be able to link this first step to the progression routes appropriate to their situation. The basic knowledge covered by the ECC will need to be added to with country specific requirements and opportunities to develop competence in practice.


10. 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. The ECC holder could be in a better position to work in a wide range of EU countries where employers recognise the ECC.


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

This will vary from one country to another, and on how the course is delivered.


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

There have been 8 partner organisations in the ECC project from 6 European Union countries: Belgium, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Romania and the United Kingdom. Each of the partner organisations are very actively disseminating the results of our project and contacting key stakeholders so that the ECC is widely known and eventually recognised.


13. 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.


14. How will 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.


15. 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


16. If I think that my knowledge 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.