Posted: 19 October 2018
Joanne McDonagh, Business Development Team Leader, tells us about the work the Growth Company is doing to help people with a genuine passion for care to find work, regardless of their past or background.
The care industry is facing challenging times in terms of a growing skills gap. A recent report found that a quarter of the care workforce is on a zero-hours contract, whilst 390,000 people left their jobs within the sector over the past 12 months. And, when you consider that one fifth of the workforce is over the age of 55, it’s no surprise that it’s a struggle to fill vacancies.
In fact, according to workforce data from Skills for Care, the vacancy rate has risen from 6.6% to 8% over the past 12 months – meaning there are currently around 110,000 jobs in England which are left vacant.
Employers are finding it more and more challenging to find people with the right values for care work, and that’s why we’re keen to step in and help providers tap into new pools of talent. We want to find people with a genuine interest in the care sector to help meet the demands of an ageing population. The sector has been underfunded for years, and the funding gap is expected to hit £3.56 billion by 2024/25. However, the sector matters – not only is it crucial for the wellbeing of those we care for and support, it’s also essential for the UK’s economic value.
The importance of inclusive growth
A diverse workforce is vital for any industry, but more needs to be done to encourage diversity in the care industry. And we’re not just talking about age, ethnicity or gender, for example. Diversity also means supporting people from ‘troubled’ or ‘disadvantaged’ backgrounds so they can enjoy a successful career in the care industry without judgement.
Employing someone with a blemished past might seem like a risky strategy, but in fact it can open you up to a wealth of fresh talent that you might have otherwise not even considered. Being open-minded and choosing a candidate based on their natural drive and determination, rather than their past or background, means you’re more likely to have loyal employees as they will be glad that you’ve taken a chance on them. Skills and knowledge can be taught, whereas a genuine love for the care industry can’t.
Here at the Growth Company, inclusive growth is at the heart of what we do. Every day, we make a real difference to the lives of people across Greater Manchester and beyond, regardless of their personal circumstances.
But why is inclusive growth so important to us? Quite simply, we believe that people are stronger together. Everyone is capable of making a difference, and the care sector is a field where people who can make a difference are crucial. That’s just one of the many reasons why we’re passionate about helping people from all walks of life to find a job in care and thrive in their career.
Supporting ex-offenders and recovering addicts
We work with some of the hardest-to-reach people to help them overcome the barriers that are preventing them from finding employment, and that includes ex-offenders and those recovering from addictions.
Our Recovery Works programme engages with people who are recovering from drug and alcohol problems, and supports them on their road to recovery with a view to getting them into education, training or employment.
Meanwhile our charity, Challenge 4 Change, does a huge amount of work to support ex-offenders and those who are at risk of offending. The ‘Teammates not Inmates’ programme engages these individuals and helps them to make positive changes to their lives.
What we’re doing to help people enter the care industry
At the Growth Company we’re running a short course that’s designed to give people the skills and confidence they need to kick-start their career in the care industry.
The Level 1 ‘Preparing to work in care’ programme is ideal for anyone who has been unemployed for a long time. Following successful completion of the course, learners will have the knowledge needed to go onto their Care Certificate, which would involve completing a work placement.
And what about students who are already with us? Well, we also work with some of the best employers in the care industry to ensure that our health and social care apprentices learn from the best organisations. Take a look at what some of our apprentices are achieving at CASA, and see how much of a difference they’re already making to the lives of the people they care for.
We’re proud to be doing our bit to help meet the ambitions of Skills for Care. We want to create a strong, skilled and dedicated workforce to help bridge the skills gap and ensure that the people we care and support - and their families - have peace of mind that they’re going to receive the best possible care. After all, it’s the least they deserve. We are the Growth company, and we’re committed to improving lives every day.
The Growth Company is one of five projects to be commissioned by Skills for Care to test innovative and collaborative approaches to recruiting people from under-represented groups in the adult social care and health workforce and/or those who may experience barriers to employment. Funding is offered on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care, with kind support from the CareTech Foundation.
During October we’re embracing diversity in adult social care. Click here to keep up to date with the campaign and join the conversation on social media using #EmbraceDiversity