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Apr 19

It's all about the human touch

Posted: 1 April 2019

Andy TildenOur interim CEO Andy Tilden reflects on his new role and how it is the little human touches that make our sector great.

Like so many people in social care my career would never have flourished in the way it has except for the support of couple of teachers at school on the Isle of Sheppey where I grew up.

They saw something in me and with thanks to their faith I went on to become a residential care worker, train as a teacher, train as a social worker, work in child protection, juvenile justice, become a lecturer and work as a training manager in the NHS. I like to think they would share my pride in becoming the Interim CEO of Skills for Care.

Again, like so many people in our sector my interest in the sector comes from my own personal experiences. I grew up watching my mother support my aunt who had a long term condition, and then support both of my grandparents. A seed was sown.

I joined Skills for Care in 2000 having help set up and manage a small company attached to a learning disability charity because I have always wanted to ‘make a difference’ in my jobs. I have been lucky that each of the roles I have had since joining has enabled me to do that and given me the skills and knowledge to take on my new role.

When you are with an organisation for a long time you see many changes – some good and some not so good. In that time I have seen us grow into an organisation that delivers the goods and is trusted by the Department of Health and Social Care, our partners and most of all by over 21,000 employers employing 1.47 million people.

In many ways my new role is making our talented teams have the support and guidance they need but there is one thing I  hope to play a small part in changing.

I get angry when care workers are seen as unskilled and I would challenge ignorant people who think that to walk a shift or two in their shoes. I suspect most of them wouldn’t make it past the first visit or interaction with a person who needs care and support.

I also get very frustrated when I see that ‘door security’ and taxi drivers have to be licenced but care workers do not. There is a wide range of knowledge, skills and values that underpin good social care, but the fact we do not have registration seems to deny this and prevent social care values being properly respected, recognised and rewarded.

Anger and frustration are not enough so I will continue to seek ways in which Skills for Care can work with our partners to redress this position.

I try to seek learning from every opportunity and many of you will know from my previous blogs that my cancer diagnosis was no exception. The three blogs I wrote were both personally cathartic and a personal source of learning about what really mattered to me as I went through the treatment experience.

Most of all I learnt that it is the little things that mean so much when you need support. In my case it was the receptionist who held my eye and smiled when I arrived for treatment full of fears of the unknown. It was a reminder that care is a people business that brings out the best in all of us who believe that we at our best when we work together.