Posted: 18 March 2016
As part of our contribution to National Apprenticeships week Karen Caffrey, Managing Director of Homecarers Liverpool, tell us how apprentices work for her business and the people they serve.
Homecarers Liverpool started employing apprentices in 2008 because we wanted to support care workers to achieve a recognised qualification in Health and Social Care. From an organisational perspective it means we could develop skilled workforce that is able to deliver a quality caring service.
For us the Apprenticeship programme forms part of a care worker’s personal development plan and enables employers to work with the individual worker to develop a career path in social care. This is a major selling point when recruiting new workers and then retaining then within the business.
In tandem with this, the Apprenticeship programme also demonstrates to Commissioners of Care the organisation’s commitment to training and development, and has supported us when submitting tenders for new business and completing Investors in People re-accreditation.
As well as giving us an edge as a business, the training and development completed during the Apprenticeship rewards the individual with a recognised qualification that is credible and portable throughout their career. It also delivers training that is relevant to the role and helps them develop skills and experience that will support them in a role that is challenging but rewarding.
It’s pleasing to hear that for the third year running adult social care has the largest Apprenticeship framework which I think is due to a number of reasons
Firstly because the skills and knowledge required for the role is underestimated by Commissioners and the general public. It is not in any way underestimated by Providers - both in the private and public sector - so for this reason Providers work hard to encourage workers to take up the opportunity for Apprenticeships and use them to develop their skills and knowledge.
Secondly, many of our recruits have left school without formal qualifications, and a key selling point of the Apprenticeship route for all our team is the attainment of a recognised qualification.
I tend to agree 88% of employers who hire apprentices believe that Apprenticeships lead to a more motivated and satisfied workforce as it fits with our experience as a company. We know care staff that have attained a level 2 qualification often wish to progress to the next level qualification and this demonstrates a strong level of motivation and increased levels of confidence in the worker.
I hope the new Apprenticeship standards will give all employers the opportunity to ensure that all elements of the role are reflected in the training that is being proposed that is fit for purpose and provides a skills and caring workforce ready to meet future challenges.
It will reflect the reality that individual care needs from a Service User perspective may not change unless their condition improves or deteriorates , but the role of the worker has in that care workers mean they have responsibility for more complex requirements, So, for example, support for medication, falls monitoring, skin integrity, stoma care, end of life care and increasing numbers of Service Users with dementia will rest with our workers who can the Apprenticeship pathway to develop the skills and knowledge they need to do the job.