11th Apr, 2019

Core Skills Training Framework – what it means for you

It doesn’t matter what your background is, when you work in healthcare the statutory and mandatory training is something that has to be undertaken and refreshed before you can practice.

Whether you work in a major hospital or a care home setting; are a generalist or a specialist; are newly-trained or experienced; or are working at the front-line or a support role – any new employer (permanent or agency work) needs to know that you have up-to-date training.

And if you work with multiple employers or agencies, you’ll probably have been asked about this several times – as well as being asked to show your certificates and asked the question: “Was this training CSTF-aligned?”.

But what does it mean to be CSTF-aligned?

What is the CSTF?

The UK Core Skills Training Framework (CSTF) is a collection of guidance and recommendations that cover the key statutory and mandatory training subjects for many roles in the health sector. It describes the key learning outcomes that any such training should include, how often it should take place (including refresher periods), and the best approach to delivering that training.

The CSTF isn’t actually a regulatory requirement – but it is a common framework to guide healthcare organisations when they design and plan training activities. The aim is to ensure that they’re standardised across the UK and focused on the needs that are common to all roles. These are minimum expected standards, and many healthcare organisations may have their own more detailed standards.

Where did it come from?

Originally launched in 2013, the CSTF is derived from national guidelines and legislation. It was developed in collaboration with relevant subject matter experts and professional bodies, such as the Resuscitation Council, the Infection Prevention Society, and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Skills for Health (as the Sector Skills Council for Health) continues to maintain and update the framework, and the current version v1.5 was released in October 2018.

What does it mean to trusts and healthcare providers?

As well as providing guidance when they develop training programmes, the CSTF acts as a common standard.

Skills for Health maintains a directory of healthcare providers who have aligned their training offer to the CSTF. This means that when they recruit staff, a new employer can check if the training that was delivered by a previous employer was CSTF-aligned and use that information to decide whether the new employee needs to go through induction or refresher training, or whether they can begin work straight away.

This, of course, saves time and money in not forcing people to undergo unnecessary training.

What does it mean to agencies and training providers?

For locum agencies, recruitment agencies or commercial training companies that provide training in the statutory and mandatory subjects, it means that they too can use the CSTF documentation to plan their training programmes.

Increasingly often, the trusts or NHS purchasing consortia who are buying training services or asking an agency to supply personnel will specify CSTF-aligned training as a requirement.

And when an agency takes a new person on to their books, they can use the directory of healthcare providers in the same way as a direct employer does to check on previous training.

What does it mean to an individual?

If the training that you received from a previous employer was CSTF-aligned, a new employer knows straight away what the content would have covered. So if you work with multiple employers and/or agencies, this will prevent you from having to go through multiple rounds of induction or refresher training.

And if you’re returning to the workforce and need to arrange refresher training, looking for a training provider who is CSTF-aligned or verified means you know straight away what the content should be. You can even download the CSTF subject guides and see for yourself what the training should cover.

What do CSTF-aligned and verified mean?

Any organisation can download the CSTF document set, including the subject guides, and use these to check if their training meets the recommendations, revising and updating it if necessary. This means aligned with CSTF.

Training providers can also ask Skills for Health to carry out an independent review of their training and check that it does meet the recommendations. This is CSTF verified. Being verified doesn’t guarantee the quality of the training delivery – but it does mean all the essential learning content is included.

Aligned and verified are the only terms that are valid in referring to the CSTF. Anything else has been invented by the training provider. If you want to know whether a training provider delivers high quality training, there are other things to look out for, such as the Skills for Health Quality Mark or Skills for Care Endorsement.

Where to find out more…

You can read more about the Core Skills Training Framework or download a copy from the Skills for Health website at: www.skillsforhealth.org.uk/cstf

You can look for healthcare organisations whose training is CSTF-aligned and training providers who are CSTF-verified on the CSTF directory at: https://cstfdirectory.skillsforhealth.org.uk/

And you can search for training from CSTF-aligned training providers on the Skills Platform at: https://www.skillsplatform.org/cstf-aligned-providers

Post last updated on 18/02/2020