Posted: 11 October 2016
Andy Tilden, our Director of Sector Development, reflects on his 16 years working for Skills for Care.
The other day my LinkedIn account exploded into action.
Rather than the steady drip of invites and messages I started to receive large numbers of congratulatory messages. Yes, it was the anniversary of me joining Topss England which morphed into Skills for Care. All the lovely messages reminded me I have spent 16 years working for this one organisation when for the most part I had spent on average 3 years in my other social care, NHS, social work, lecturing and training provider jobs.
It made me consider why I have worked for Skills for Care for such a long period of time. There have been promotions and, of course, my boss, current colleagues and the culture of the organisation make it easy for me to get up and go to work every day. Also with every change of government and or a new minister there are new challenges and areas of work to consider and get my teeth into.
Yes, I have a great boss, a great bunch of colleagues, a great working culture and the work is varied and constantly changing but I am not sure that these are the reasons to keep me in this job for this long. There must be something more and I think I know what it is.
In my previous jobs I began to operate at a steady pace, I had set programmes up, developed courses, solved problems and moved to a business as usual state. In previous jobs I started to think the ‘job was done’ and started to consider where I could add more value.
Skills for Care has achieved so much for the adult social care workforce. It has, and continues, to punch well above its weight considering the resources received for the size of the adult social care workforce and the challenges that we face.
We have made and continue to make a massive contribution to the development and the social mobility of the adult social care workforce through our work with induction, leadership and management, qualifications, learning programmes and apprenticeships, we have and we continue to assist employers and sector bodies understand and use our products and services to meet address their workforce challenges and above all else I firmly believe our contribution has greatly benefitted the lives of people receiving care and support.
There remains a need to continue to emphasise that social care is a very cost effective solution and the underpinning principles of social care can provide leadership around the support given to people.
Yes, we have and continue to achieve a lot but unlike previous jobs I never feel it is ‘job done’! There is so much more to do from ensuring that the social care contribution is not lost in ‘integration discussions’ with health colleagues. It must not - as it so often can seem - an ‘add on’ to health initiatives. There remains a need to continue to emphasise that social care is a very cost effective solution and the underpinning principles of social care can provide leadership around the support given to people. There is so much more that can be achieved to raise the status, value and profile of social care alongside the self-esteem and confidence of the workforce.
In my working life there has never been such pressure and challenge placed on social care yet paradoxically there has also never been such a need to shout about and promote the fantastic work that social care and the people who work in their communities continue to achieve. It is for the reasons that I have continued to work at Skills for Care as there is sadly still much unfinished business, but I remain confident that we will continue to make the changes we need so that everyone who uses care and support service can access high quality provision delivered by skilled and knowledgeable care professionals.
You can follow Andy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/andytildensfc or connect with Andy on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/andy-tilden-7502632a