Dec 19

Skills for Care appoint Oonagh Smyth as CEO

Posted on Wednesday 11th December 2019

OonaghSmyth-250x250pxAfter a rigorous selection process Oonagh Smyth has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of Skills for Care.

Oonagh will take up her new post with the charity responsible for workforce development in adult social care across England early in 2020.

Oonagh is currently Executive Director of Strategy and Influence at Mencap. In this role, she led a significant strategic change programme across the organisation which meant Mencap is focused on making the most impact for people with a learning disability in health, employment, social care, friendships and relationship and early years.

Commenting on her appointment Oonagh said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the new CEO of Skills for Care. Social care is vital. I have seen social care at its best and it is powerful when delivered by people that care, and it transforms lives.

“There are 1.49 million people working in adult social care now, and this is predicted to increase by 36% by 2035. Skills for Care has a crucial role in developing the skills and knowledge of this growing group of people working in social care and helping employers recruit and retain people.

“Skills for Care is an excellent organisation, with a skilled and motivated team, highly engaged with employers across the sector. I know from my own experiences, the significant impact Skills for Care has on workforce development. So, while I am sad to leave my amazing colleagues at Mencap, I’m really looking forward to meeting all the team and getting to work.”

Oonagh first came into contact with Mencap when she volunteered for a local Mencap Gateway Club in Belfast while she was doing her A Levels where she saw the difference that social care can make in people’s lives.

The incoming CEO is also a Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, a cross-sector alliance of 80 social care organisations influencing at the highest government levels. She has a law degree, a Masters in Human Rights Law from Queens University Belfast and an Executive Coaching Masters from Ashridge Business School. Oonagh coaches executives in the charity sector pro bono.

The selection process was led by Skills for Care’s Chair Dame Moira Gibb and included challenging interview panels made up of Skills for Care Board members, staff and stakeholders, including experts by experience and employers.

“We had a very strong set of candidates for this demanding role, but Oonagh’s experience and commitment shone through, impressing all of us involved,” noted Dame Moira.

“We have appointed a dynamic, experienced CEO who will add real value and fresh thinking to the highly effective work our team is already doing, That intensive work with employers and workers that Oonagh will lead, means people who need care and support in our communities can live the lives they want to.”