Programme Aim     

The overall aim of the programme is to provide the learner with the opportunity to acquire the knowledge, skill and competence to work independently and under supervision in a supportive role within the Health Service.

The programme is offered to the learner on a full time basis and has been designed to be sufficiently flexible to enable the learner to take up a position on Health Service Skills in North Connaught College.

Health Service Skills provides students with an opportunity to study on a course that leads directly into employment or Healthcare Level 6 in North Connaught College of Further Education or Higher Education.

This course helps students to develop their interpersonal, caring and practice skills which they can apply to a varied range of client groups in a variety of healthcare settings. Whilst at the same time understanding the importance of maintaining a people independence, dignity, respect, self-esteem and choice.

Students will learn a range of theories, current practice guidelines and legal requirements relating to the provision of health care thus allowing them to contribute under supervision to the planning, implementation and evaluation of care to a specified patient/resident group.

Students will gain practical experience in the areas of:

  • Personal Care routines
  • Attending to Care needs & Clinical skills
  • Working as part of a Healthcare team
  • Infection Prevention & Control
  • Communications
  • Safety & Health at Work
  • Work Experience.

Students will also have an opportunity to take the following courses :

  • People moving and handling
  • Safeguarding vulnerable adults
  • First Aid.
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Programme Progression 

This course prepares students for employment in a wide variety of care services such as Nursing Homes, Hospitals, Community Care services, Residential Settings for people with physical and intellectual disabilities, Day Care Centres and Homecare Agencies. Within these services there are many work opportunities for example Health Care Assistant, Multi Task Assistants and Support Worker.

Following on from Health Service Skills Level 5 there is direct progression onto Level 6 Health Supervisory Management in North Connaught College. This course prepares you to work in a supervisory role in a range of healthcare services.

Students are also in a position to access third level degree courses in Applied Social Care, Social Care Practice, Social Sciences, Early Childhood Studies and Community Youth Work.

Entry Requirements  

Education: The learner who has either successfully completed a programme leading to a level 4 QQI Certificate OR can demonstrate the levels of knowledge, skill and competence associated with NFQ level 4 will be eligible to apply for entry to this programme.

Aptitude: Applicants must have a motivation to learn, an interest in the subject and the ability to acquire the knowledge, skills and competencies set out in the course.

Course Content  

Title Award Awarding Body
Infection Prevention and Control (5N3734) QQI
Care Support (5N0758) QQI
Activities of Living Patient Care (5N3707) QQI
Care of the Older Person (5N2706  ) QQI
Care Skills (5N2770) QQI
Safety & Health at Work (5N1794) QQI
Communications (5N0690) QQI
Work Experience (5N1356) QQI

Further Details    

 Below is a list of each of the modules with a detailed description

Infection Prevention and Control

This component is an essential part of maintaining a safe and hygienic environment for patients, staff and visitors in care settings. It will help you to recognise the following: the various types of infection, how to prevent infections and control outbreaks.  Students will learn a range of practical skills required in IPC such as decontamination, terminal cleaning and management of spillages. Also, the importance of hand hygiene using a wash and glow UV light box.

Care Support

Care support explores the roles and responsibility of a healthcare worker as part of a multidisciplinary team.  There is an emphasis on understanding the needs of the People and how to provide enhanced quality of care. This component is about exploring personal planning and growth as a student HCA through reflection in a caring profession.

Activities of Living Patient Care

This component aims to equip the learner with the knowledge, skills & competence to enable him/her to provide individualised holistic care using the activities of living as a framework to guide care practices. As we age, we may become less able to perform everyday activities such as washing and eating. In this component students will explore the concept of individualised holistic care and the multiple factors that influence the older person’s ability to perform activities independently. The student will develop the relevant practical skills and appropriate interpersonal skills needed to provide individualised holistic care.

Care of the Older Person

In Care of the Older Person, you will develop the skills necessary to meet the care needs of older people, for example, feeding, showering, and assisting. All these skills are essential to meeting the communication, physical, social, emotional, and personal needs of an older person.

Care Skills

The Care Skills module involves developing knowledge and skills to meet the different individual needs, while at the same time maintaining the person’s autonomy, independence dignity, and privacy. All these practical skills are taught in the college in a fully equipped simulated healthcare environment. The skills will be practiced by the student during work-experience placement in a healthcare setting.

Safety & Health at Work

The purpose of this component is to equip the learner with the skills to promote and maintain safety and health in a work environment, for example, risk assessment, personal protective equipment (PPE), health living. The learner will gain a better understanding of the roles of both the employee and the employer in all workplaces. Familiarisation with the  relevant national legislation and statutory bodies.


This is one of the most important components, whether in the workplace or in a college environment.  It is essential to be able to transfer knowledge concisely and also to be aware of the different types of communication. The component covers both written and practical aspects of communication and gives learners practice and confidence for public speaking which is very important for the third level where presentations are compulsory.

Work Experience

Students must find work placement in a suitable healthcare setting. Work-experience classes prepare the student to apply for work placement and future work by learning skills a cover letter, CV and interview techniques. Students will also gain an understanding of their own skills and qualities, as well as how document their learning during placement. This is an essential component for anybody wishing to prepare for or return to the workplace.