Training and qualifications

Improving skills and confidence levels can ease some of the stresses of a caring role. We offer a range of learning opportunities, on an ongoing basis throughout Aberdeenshire, based on what carers tell us they need. Many carers have to give up work because of their caring role and might want support to let them get back to work.

VSA can tailor support based on the outcome of an Adult Carer Support Plan or Young Carer Statement.

Scottish Vocational Qualifications

The skills, experience and knowledge a carer has from providing care for a loved one, friend or neighbour, who couldn’t manage independently, can be transferred into a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ).

A SVQ is a nationally recognised qualification which shows a person is competent in their role. Vocational qualifications are work based. This means that you are assessed whilst doing your caring role. We offer two different qualifications – one if you care for an adult, and one if you care for a baby, child or young person:

  • SVQ 2 Social Services and Healthcare - if you care for an adult
  • SVQ 2 Social Services (Children and Young People) - if you care for a baby, child or young person

An SVQ Assessor is allocated to you to support you through your qualification. You need to work through six different units, providing written and practical evidence to demonstrate your skills and knowledge. All work is collected into a Portfolio to produce the evidence needed for your SVQ. Your Assessor visits as regularly as you need, either at your home or a preferred meeting place of your choice.

Mandatory and optional units

These SVQs have four mandatory units and two optional units.

The mandatory units are:

  • support effective communication
  • support the health and safety of yourself and individuals
  • develop your own knowledge and practice
  • support the safeguarding of individuals

There are a number of optional units to choose from. You choose two units most appropriate to the care you provide. Different options are available depending on whether you care for an adult, child or young person. Optional units include, but aren’t limited to:

  • support individuals to take part in recreational activities
  • support individuals to access information on services and facilities
  • support individuals in their daily living
  • support individuals to make a journey
  • support individuals to meet their domestic and personal needs
  • provide food and drink to promote individuals health and wellbeing
  • support individuals to eat and drink
  • contribute to moving and positioning individuals
  • support individuals who are distressed
  • support children with additional support needs
  • support children's learning through play
  • support the development of children and young people.

The SVQ requires you to prove competency in your caring role. You can do this by:

  • being observed by the SVQ Assessor while you’re doing your caring role (compulsory)
  • writing about what you do, how you do it, and why you do it (compulsory)
  • answering questions about your practice and knowledge
  • providing written statements from others involved with the person you care for who have a knowledge of your caring role, or from the person you care for themselves. Professionals can also provide you with written statements
  • showing the SVQ Assessor any work that you’ve produced

The tasks you need to show you can do competently will be those you do routinely in your caring role. They’ll also cover the mandatory and optional units of the SVQ. 


The SVQ Assessor will assess you against nationally set standards - National Occupational Standards. The assessment involves the SVQ Assessor coming along to watch you in your caring role. How often they observe you depends on the type of tasks you routinely do in your caring role. As a rough guide, the SVQ Assessor will probably observe you three or four times. The person you care for needs to agree to the observations taking place. Discretion is used at all times to maintain the individual’s dignity and privacy.

Our SVQ Assessor provides support and guidance for carers taking this qualification.

You don't need to sit an exam. You do need to write about how you have done your caring role and specific tasks. Spelling and grammar isn’t important. It’s more important that you are able to make clear what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. Written work can be done electronically or by hand, whatever you prefer.

The SVQ Assessor observations and your evidence supporting your competency as a carer is assessed while you are doing the SVQ. The SVQ Assessor will help you present evidence of your competence in a way that is appropriate for you. 

Time to complete the SVQ

You need to spend one to two hours per week to complete your SVQ in an appropriate time. But this varies from person to person.

Generally, a level 2 SVQ for unpaid carers is likely to take between six months to a year to complete. But it can vary depending on your other commitments, personal circumstances, holidays, or illness. 


You’ll get one to one support from the SVQ Assessor through face to face sessions, online sessions such as Microsoft Teams or Skype, telephone calls and emails.

You can also discuss any opportunities for further learning and development with the SVQ Assessor. They’ll try to source training courses for you. 


There isn’t a cost for these SVQs. It would normally cost about an individual £1,200 to do this qualification.

Benefits of doing a SVQ

If, in the future, you want a career in the health and social care sector, using your caring skills and experiences, you’ll need a qualification.

Every paid carer will eventually need to have a qualification relevant to their role. They’ll also need to register with the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) to work in health and social care.

Previous successful candidates have also identified these benefits after doing these SVQs:

  • increased confidence in their caring abilities, generally as a person, and lower stress levels
  • increased assertiveness in dealing with professionals, for example, GPs, health and social work staff, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists or district nurses
  • the chance to meet and share experiences with other carers and develop a new support network within the SVQ group
  • the feeling of achievement when they’ve finish the qualification and the realisation of what they’ve done and are able to do
  • focussing on specific caring activities can identify easier or quicker ways of doing things which helped ease their caring role
  • hearing how other carers do things can is useful
  • improved relationships with the person they’re caring for and family members
  • increased awareness and understanding of the health and social care sector and roles
  • the important feeling of doing something for themselves

More information

If you want to know more about these SVQs, or are still not sure if you want to do a SVQ, please telephone 01467 535655 or email for more information.

How to apply

If you’d like to apply for these SVQs please complete the application form (PDF 96KB) and return to the address provided in the form. 

Privacy notice

Our privacy notice (PDF 101KB) gives more information about how we may use your data for provision of assessment arrangements for the SVQ.