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Key Info:

Working in the childcare sector is a worthwhile and rewarding career working as part of a team to make a difference to a child's life. You could be helping support children from the age of 5 - 18 from all different walks and backgrounds. Your ultimate aim is to guide the young person towards independence, self-confidence and encourage their own skills and talents.

Who are these qualifications for?

This qualification can lead to working in children's residential homes, youth work and the expereience gained could lead you into a career in social work. It is vital that you attain this qualification within 2 years of starting within a residential childcare post.

What are the entry requirements?

In order to qualify to pursue the Level 4 qualification in Residential Childcare you must be over 18 and be working in a childcare placement.

Personal qualities required to work in this sector

If you're already working in childcare, chances are you will possess many of the personal qualities required to work in this sector. Good communication skills are essential to working with children (and sometimes their families) along with being able to operate effectively in a team and with other colleagues.

As a residential care worker you will need good communication skills and be able to gain the trust of the young people you are supporting. One way of doing this is by acting as a role model and guiding the young people with their personal and educational development.

You will be a good team worker as well as showing initiative. Apart from your staff team you will be working with other professionals such as doctors and therapists as well as the young person's family members. In addition you will require to be non-judgemental, have a degree of patience and a sense of humour helps!

Qualification information and content

How long will it take to complete?

At Level 4, candidates can expect to complete in 18 to 24 months. Completion times may vary and are dependent on a range of factors including candidate ability, previous experience and working hours.

How will the qualifications be achieved?

Qualifications are largely work-based. Candidates will have an assessor who will visit them at work on a regular basis to document progress through observations, discussions and witness testimonies from managers. Depending on your current circumstances some individuals will just work towards the vocational qualification, whilst others may work towards an Apprenticeship.


Apprenticeships offer candidates a full package of qualifications known as a Standard. In addition to the Diploma, all candidates are required to work towards maths and English.

Apprenticeship Standard

Level 4 Apprenticeship

Candidates will work towards achieving the following:

  • Level 4 Diploma in Residential Childcare
  • Level 2 Functional Skills in English and maths 

Level 5 Apprenticeship

Candidates will work towards achieving the following:

  • Level 5 Diploma in Children Young People & Families Manager
  • Level 2 Functional Skills in English and maths 

Progression Opportunities

After completing a Level 4 qualification in a childcare role, there will be opportunities for progression in your career. 

Achieving a Level 5 will open doors further and allow for development to include higher learning and degrees in specialisms to include Early Years or Early Childhood Studies.