Oct 17

Encouraging diversity in the social care sector

Posted on Monday 16th October 2017

Skills for Care has launched four innovative projects to encourage adult social care employers to ‘look past the label’ and recruit people from traditionally under-represented groups.

Employers are facing increasing competition for high quality staff and the projects challenge them to think differently and more creatively about their recruitment practices.

The four projects explore how employers can meet the recruitment and retention challenge by tapping into the huge potential of people who are under-represented in adult social care - many of whom have the right values and behaviours to work in our sector.

Thinking differently might include recruiting people include people who experience mental ill-health, homeless people, ex-offenders, recovering addicts, military veterans and the long-term unemployed.

The projects link closely to the Department of Health’s See Potential campaign that aims to put individuality, diversity and life experience at the heart of adult social care recruitment.

Our CEO Sharon Allen said: “Given we know we will need to find people to fill up to 275,000 new job roles by 2025 then looking at how we tap into the untapped potential of underrepresented groups makes perfect sense especially as they will bring lots of skills and life experience to our sector.”

The four projects are: 


Inspirative Development Ltd - Enabling homeless and socially excluded people to fulfil their potential in the social care sector

Inspirative Development will work with the YMCA to support homeless people through a pre-employment work programme.

The programme will include:

  • personal development workshops to build resilience
  • Taught sessions to achieve a BTEC level 1 Introductory Certificate in Health and Social Care or BTEC level 2 Certificate in Supporting Activity Provision in Social Care
  • a 12 week work placement

Sarah Paine, Co-founder of Inspirative Arts, believes this is a great opportunity to bring new talents and skills into the sector:

“Our partnership work enabled by funding from Skills for Care will offer people being supported by YMCA Derby a pathway into therapeutic support, training and personal development which we believe will positively impact their future education and employment opportunities. We are looking forward to sharing our innovation and learning with the wider sector”


Lincolnshire Care Assocation (LinCa) - Inspire to Influence: A recruitment project to work with under-represented groups

LinCa will work with 17 and 24 year olds from under-represented groups, including care leavers and long term unemployed.

They’ll with local Jobcentres, schools and colleges to identify candidates with the right values and behaviours to do a work-based placement in the sector.

Suitable candidates will complete:

  • an induction based on the knowledge elements of the Care Certificate and other learning
  • a 12 week work placement to complete the compliance and skills competency elements of the Care Certificate.

People who excel in this 12 week programme will go on to do an Adult Care Worker Level 2 Apprenticeship with a local college. Candidates are then offered an additional 14 week work placement to develop their skills and experience.

Toni Barwell, Project Lead told us:

“By using innovation and new ways of working, LinCA will lead the Inspire to Influence project in a way to enhance the young people’s own life experiences, with the aim that they will go on to inspire others to join what is a vibrant, interesting and meaningful health and social care workforce.”  


Association for Care Training (ACT) – Recruiting for potential from under-represented groups

ACT will support people in Herefordshire from under-represented groups, including both young (18-24 year olds) and older people (over 50’s) who have been out of work or training for over 12 months, to complete the Level 1 Award in Preparing to Work in Adult Social Care over a 12 week placement.

They’ll work with the local Jobcentre Plus and Local Authority to find potential candidates, and local employers will be able to showcase their vacancies and offer work trials, interviews and job offers.

They hope this will support candidates into full time employment, and encourage employers to think differently about their recruitment. Managing Director, Debbie Price told us:

“This will enable [them] to become part of a growing sector, and will encourage and support social care and health employers to recruit from pools of talent they may not have previously considered.”


Care Plus Group - Employability Services Health and social care voluntary placement scheme

The Care Plus Group already provide employment opportunities for all ages through a multi award winning ‘pathway model’ of initiatives, which include voluntary placements, apprenticeships and internships.

They want to use this tried and tested model to support people from under-represented groups, including long term unemployed people, people will mental ill-health and disabled people, on a 13 week voluntary placement. This will include work experience, accredited and non-accredited training and support to find employment.

Sharon Stead, Employability Services Manager, is confident about the benefits this project can bring: 

“Projects like these are vital in supporting the sector to attract, recruit and retain a diverse workforce while also addressing the skills gap of an aging workforce”. 


Find out more

To help employers who want to think differently about how they recruit people, our Finding and keeping workers website has lots of practical resources to help you attract, take on and keep workers with the right values and behaviours to work in your organisation and the adult social care sector.