Posted: Thursday 30th June 2016
Sharon Allen, Chief Executive Officer, Skills for Care
A week has passed since the momentous Referendum vote. Much has been said and written. All I know is that there is a formidable need for new political leadership to unite the nation and begin to find answers to fundamental questions.
Many people have asked me what the implications are for adult social care. Ours is a rapidly growing sector, in which the number one issue is how we can attract, keep and develop a quality workforce. Without enough people working in our sector, we simply cannot ensure that our citizens can be supported to live independent and fulfilling lives – wherever they choose to live.
The social care workforce is as diverse as our society. It includes many from the EU and all corners of the globe which reflects, and supports, our local communities and the range of people who need care and support. Many nurses (and nursing is a critical need) have joined us recently following international recruitment drives, and it is a fact that excellent care of any kind, depends on care-givers feeling appreciated and valued. We need to continue to value all members of the workforce, wherever they come from, for their commitment and dedication– no wonder #loveourEUstaff has been such a popular tag across both care and health services.
Values like humanity, inclusion, dignity and celebrating and promoting diversity are the bedrock of good social care.
We know from our National Minimum Data Set for Adult Social Care that approximately 6% of our current workforce of some 1.5 million people are EU nationals. To all of them and their colleagues working hard to support people, day and night, I say ‘we value you and what you do’. We also know that our sector will need to recruit an additional 400,000 people to work in our sector by 2030. So how can we make those numbers happen, to ensure that people can have choice and control; to support our health system so that people are not, for example, delayed waiting to be discharged from hospital, but can get home?
Skills for Care has a wide range of support resources available for employers to help with the challenges of getting and keeping good quality staff. Our Finders Keepers toolkit is an interactive resource to take employers through from pre-employment through to how to keep a motivated team. I Care....Ambassadors are a great way to promote different roles in our sector, to develop staff skills and confidence and to promote your organisation.
Registered Managers are at the heart of quality service provision and we have a raft of support for the brilliant folks doing this rewarding and demanding role. Our Registered Managers handbook, local networks, Managers Induction standards are all there to support this key group of professionals.
Supporting newly qualified social workers through the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment is also key to retention of this key group in our sector too.
Values like humanity, inclusion, dignity and celebrating and promoting diversity are the bedrock of good social care. These are vital for people needing care and support and for the staff that providing it. We must work together to ensure this message is out there loud and clear – in times of insecurity, we must be certain of this.