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The European Care Certificate (ECC) is the first small step towards ensuring the consistently high quality of social care services across the EU. A partnership of 20 member states (with more joining over time) has created an agreed definition of what staff entering social care services for the first time need to know as a minimum to work in the social care sector in any member country of the EU.


These definitions are called the 'Basic European Social Care Learning Outcomes' (known as the BESCLO for short) and they are the main content behind the ECC. The ECC is awarded to anyone who passes the ECC exam and so can demonstrate that they have a good knowledge of all the areas of the BESCLO.  Click on the 'BESCLO' link for more details of the content of the BESCLO.


The vision for the future of social care in the EU is that anyone who is working in social care services  in any EU state will be able to study for and pass the ECC exam, sharing the same values and knowledge base in their work, creating a common foundation in care services across all of the EU.  Workers can use their ECC in any country as a demonstration of their knowledge of the basics in social care.  Employers will then be confident that the worker shares the same value base and has the right basic knowledge. The ECC will improve employability and worker mobility across the EU in a sector where the majority of workers have no training or recognised qualification in care at all at entry level.  It will provide millions of care workers across the EU with a way of having their knowledge recognised and independently assessed.


The ECC has been recognised in different ways in different states, but has achieved formal recognition as a qualification on Level III of the European Qualifications Framework (EQF).

Attention- all employers and trainers!

The ECC can be used in a variety of ways because it demonstrates that a worker has understood a set of agreed essential learning outcomes for anyone to work safely in the care sector.  There are no set 'ECC courses' or methods of learning (though both taught and (free) distance learning courses are available if you would like them) - workers can learn in any way over any period of time in any language and any country covered by the ECC. The only criterion is that they must be able to pass the ECC Exam.

  • Some trainers offer the ECC as an optional extra to an existing course.
  • Others use it as means of assessing progress or as a requirement/entry procedure to the next stage of learning.
  • Managers sometimes use it to show regulators that their staff do know the basics and that inductions have been properly completed.  
  • Employers can use it to screen staff and identify those applicants with good basic knowledge and attitudes.


With all these options, the ECC is a truly flexible tool, with a potentially positive outcome for the staff too!



The European Care Certificate (ECC) is set at entry level for all care workers.  It is a knowledge-based award and is especially suitable for workers who have completed their induction in social care and would like to have some formal recognition of their learning.  

The eight areas of the BESCLO effectively cover almost all the knowledge 'footprint' of the Care Certificate used in England.  So if you have completed your CC, you ought to be able to pass the ECC exam - so why not give it a try?  You can do it online or on paper.

Please contact the UK Lead Partner for more details.

UK country pages amended on 4 May 2020