Posted: 22 January 2018
In her second blog, Jeanine Willoughby, Project Manager, recruitment and retention reflects on an inspirational visit to a project in Lincolnshire, that aims to help hard to reach young job seekers find work in adult social care.
In my last blog I explained about the Skills for Care project I’m working on that explores how social care and health employers can become more inclusive, by recruiting a workforce which better reflects their local community.
I was so inspired after my first visit to Care Plus Group in Grimsby that I was extra excited when I was invited to join Lincolnshire Care Association (LinCA).
This time I was going to Skegness - a rural and coastal town - where LinCA was holding an information day for their project ‘Inspire 2 Influence’ for the East Lincolnshire area.
Their project mainly focuses on supporting young people aged between 17 and 25 from disadvantaged backgrounds in the local area to get work ready. Participants are referred to the project through the local JobCentre Plus or Barnardos, all of whom are interested in starting a career in social care.
I joined LinCA on one of their information days which explain the different roles that prospective job applicants could do in social care and health, and looked at how the project workers could help them get ‘work ready’.
Ten participants came along who all had different backgrounds which had made it difficult for them to access work. From the brief introductions I learned that a couple of participants were care leavers, others had moved around a lot with their family and left behind friends and familiar support networks, some people were single parents, and others had hidden disabilities.
But regardless of background, there was one common thread that I noticed – a lack of confidence. In my first ten minutes I heard people use phrases such as ‘I’m pretty useless really’ or ‘I’m just not good at that’.
What struck me was that of all the barriers these people faced when finding work, low confidence and self-esteem came across the most strongly.
It’s clear to me that there is more that we need to do as a sector to identify and support potential recruits. We need to say to them: ‘if you have the right values, there are ways that you can start your career in the sector – work experience, shadowing and training can do the rest.’
There were three care providers who had come along to the information day who were offering work placements, and they talked about the opportunities they could offer. It was so refreshing to hear them talk about the culture of their organisations and engage with people about what they’d like to do – and this informal approach seemed to work well.
By the end of the session several of the participants, who had struggled to participate or maintain eye contact at the start, really began to open up and contribute more to the discussions.
I came away from the day feeling very humbled to have been trusted and included by the participants in what may well be the start of rewarding careers for them.
Over the next few months, Skills for Care wants to create resources and guidance to support employers to tap into potential new pools of talent within the local community.
What barriers or challenges do you feel there are when employing people from hard to reach or disadvantaged backgrounds? And what resources would help you do this?
If you’re an employer, or responsible for recruitment, I’d really like to hear your thoughts.