Choosing an SVQ

ARC Scotland work nationally, so we can cover any area of Scotland and our assessors go to the workplace.

The level of SVQ appropriate for you is based on your job role and level of responsibility. Evidence of your knowledge and competence is provided through examples of your normal work practice. See below for advice on choosing an SVQ that meets your resources, work requirements and responsibilities.

Vocational training is specific to the job role and therefore the most appropriate way of ensuring that the worker is competent in the skills necessary to carry out their work.

Workplace assessment

The candidate is assessed in their workplace to a range of national occupational standards which meet the registration requirements of the Scottish Social Services Council.

Benefits for the organisation, people who receive services and candidate

The organisation and people supported benefit from a highly skilled, proficient and motivated work force. The candidate will be confident that their work practice meets the national standards of competency, feel more valued and have a better chance of progression in their chosen career.

Four SVQ Social Services and Healthcare awards are offered at levels 2, 3 and 4. The level of SVQ appropriate for you is based on your job role and level of responsibility. Evidence of your knowledge and competence is provided through examples of your normal work practice.

Social Services and Healthcare Level 2

Suitable for candidates who are involved in very practical hands-on care tasks in a support role to other workers (eg listening, organizing, leisure activities, entering notes in care plans, taking messages, help with feeding, toileting, dealing with minor medical needs etc).

Social Services and Healthcare Level 3

Suitable for candidates who would be expected to already have some experience and be able to work without direct supervision, and to take some responsibility for Care Planning for and with individuals receiving care.

Social Services and Healthcare Level 4

Suitable for candidates who are expected to be working in posts with management and/or supervisory responsibilities.

SVQ Care Services Leadership and Management

Suitable for candidates working in posts with management and/or supervisory responsibilities.

Registration qualification requirements

The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration qualification requirements make clear the qualification you need for registration.

For more information about registration requirements – see Scottish Social Services Council

All Social Services and Healthcare awards are constructed of mandatory units and optional units (a unit is like a module).

Level 2 has 4 mandatory units and 2 optional units, while level 3 and level 4 and the Leadership and Management award have 4 mandatory and 4 optional.

Mandatory units

The mandatory units are the same for every candidate regardless of whether they work in a residential setting, a care at home setting or supported living services and regardless of type of service, such as care of the elderly, support for mental ill health, learning disability etc..

These units reflect core values and ethics which are expected to be demonstrated by every worker. They cover Communication, Health & Safety, Continuing Professional Development and the wellbeing and protection of people.

Optional units

The candidate, guided by the assessor, then selects the optional units based on their work setting and their role.

The candidate is required to provide evidence of their knowledge and competence, completing all 6 or 8 units.


Candidates are required to compile a portfolio of evidence demonstrating that they can meet all the performance criteria and knowledge in the national occupational standards.

Evidence can derive from observations of work practice by the assessor, the candidate writing reflective accounts about their experiences, written and oral questions, testimonies from other relevant people and products generated during the course of the candidates usual work such as reports, care plans, completed data charts and other forms of communication.

A variety of these types of evidence is necessary to cover all the evidence requirements in all the units.


Assessment is formative, that is, ongoing until the requirements are fully satisfied. There is no limit to the number of times evidence is assessed and no set number of pieces of evidence required.

There are no exams, and the candidate may need several assessments of work before they are confirmed as competent.

The assessor provides constructive feedback every time evidence is submitted by a candidate, and the assessor and candidate work together to formulate plans, so there is clear direction for the candidate.

The assessor confirms achievement when all evidence requirements are fully met and then the portfolio of evidence is verified at the assessment centre. This is a mandatory quality assurance process determined by the awarding body, SQA.

Guidance from the Voluntary Sector Social Services Workforce Unit

Many organisations use SVQs as a way of qualifying their workforce to meet the needs of service users and to meet the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) registration standards. Choosing an SVQ provider can be a minefield for organisations that need to find a competent provider for SVQ awards.

Purpose of the guide

Workforce unit logo
Choosing an SVQ provider (pdf) explains the meaning of Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) and who can provide SVQs. It goes on to provide guidance to voluntary sector organisations to assist with choosing an SVQ provider, including a qualitative checklist.

The intention is to make a search for a high quality provider of SVQs an easier and more satisfactory process. The guidance begins by explaining some of the often confusing terminology that surrounds SVQs, goes on to look at factors you may wish to consider before engaging a provider and finally presents a checklist for deciding whether a provider is likely to give a quality service.

Complete an application form, SVQ Registration Application Form (doc) and send it to ARC Scotland. Skills Development Scotland - ITA Approved Provider

Your employer

Ensure your employer knows you are doing this. Sometimes it is the employer who starts off the process and they will give you the application form to complete.

Application and induction

  1. ARC Scotland will look at the application, check you are in an appropriate job role and that you have applied for the right level of award.
  2. We will need you to give as much information about your job, your experience and your qualifications as you can.
  3. We will then contact you to arrange an induction at which you will have plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

SVQs we offer

Specialist Training
We offer advanced learning in skill-specific areas for managers, teams, and support workers. From short courses completed within a day, to longer, targeted skills development programmes for both organisations and individuals, every course is shaped to your specific needs.
Go to Specialist Training

Bespoke Training
All our Training Courses are customisable to suit your company’s specific needs and training objectives. Get in touch with us to create a tailored training package that fulfils your specific requirements.


We can connect your needs to the right training, courses, and professional development.