It’s no exaggeration to say that recruitment and retention are currently existential issues for the social care sector.
According to the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services 170,000 hours of home care could not be delivered in the first three months of 2022 due to a shortage of care workers. This is not news to providers, many of whom have been forced to hand back local authority contracts due to staff shortages.
To get some perspective on this crisis, we spoke to Jonathan Freeman, Chief Executive Officer of the CareTech foundation and Vice-Chair of Championing Social Care, about alternative workforce sources for social care.
“For young people interested in social care, they just need to see it. They need to actually understand what care careers can look like. So, hosting some visits, [providing] some work experience for young people can be a great step forward. People have got the values that we need, [they’ve] got the life experience that will make them great care professionals.”
“Just spending a little bit of time in the planning of things to think, ‘how do we make this as accessible as possible?’” Jonathan says.
“Hopefully that will mean you look after those in your care with disabilities better but equally make yourself a disability confident employer and you’ll attract more people to come and work for you. We need to be making these efforts. We should be doing it morally, but we should also be doing it because it makes good business sense.”
Purple is a charity dedicated to improving accessibility for people with disabilities. Their 365 feature provides monthly updates, advice and guidance for increasing accessibility in your company. Jonathan encourages providers wanting to make their business more ethical and attractive to potential candidates to reach out.
The last resource we spoke about was Breaking Barriers, a charity dedicated to helping refugees find employment here in the UK. There are approximately 375,000 people from refugee backgrounds who are eligible to work here in the UK. This offers a large pool of people looking for the kind of purpose and community that are synonymous with social care. As more providers look overseas for recruitment following the Government’s policy change at the start of the year, it is easy to overlook the opportunities already in the UK. Jonathan explained how to take advantage of this opportunity.
“Get in touch with Breaking Barriers or again, come to the [CareTech] foundation because we’re funding this for the whole sector,” he says. “I was delighted we’ve already had others interested [in this initiative], so we will develop a whole pathway for social care for those from refugee backgrounds, and the more providers that come and help us with that the better. So let’s please look at that pool as much as we’re looking to recruit from overseas.”
Building a Better Social Care
We also spoke to Jonathan about the great work his foundation is championing through their Social Care Leaders scheme as well as Championing Social Care’s Care Home Open Week. (which isn’t limited strictly to care homes).
Ultimately raising the profile of social care in the public consciousness and increasing the understanding of its impact in our communities is as crucial to our future as attracting people into the sector as carers. The two initiatives go hand in hand, as one participant in the Social Care Leaders scheme made clear:
“I didn’t even know that there were people with these challenges being cared for in this way,” they told Jonathan. “Yeah, I think I’d like to do more of this.”
You can reach out to the CareTech Foundation for advice and support on recruitment options here: https://www.caretechfoundation.org.uk/contact/