Seeing potential: widen your talent pool

Recruiting people from all kinds of backgrounds

Some people face barriers to moving into work, and not everyone has recent experience or qualifications to support them. However, people from all kinds of backgrounds can have the right values to work in our sector as well as bring a wealth of diverse skills, experiences, perspectives and ideas to your workforce.

Taking an open approach to your recruitment can help you recruit from a wider talent pool and attract a diverse range of candidates for your roles. 

We’re developing practical resources and guidance to help adult social care employers actively target people who face barriers to employment and safely and fairly recruit people from different backgrounds.

This could include, for example, care leavers, single parents, disabled people, people with mental health needs, ex-offenders, people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, to name but a few.

Recruiting people for their values and behaviours is a great place to start. It involves taking a values-based approach to your recruitment - looking 'past the label' and instead, exploring candidate's values, behaviours and attitudes to ensure they align with your workplace values. 

Working with other initiatives, such as employability services and learning providers, to support people into work through, for example, pre-employment programmes, can also be a successful way to engage with different parts of your local community. 

Finding and keeping workers has lots of resources to support your recruitment and retention, including how to attract more workers and how to explore candidate's values in the recruitment process. Keep an eye on this web page for updated resources in spring 2018.


With record low levels of unemployment and increasing competition for staff, to continue securing people with the right values to deliver high-quality, person-centred care, employers must challenge themselves to think differently and more creatively about their recruitment practices.

One way of doing this is by recruiting from the huge untapped potential of people who face barriers moving into work, many of whom are under-represented in the workforce, but have the right values to work in our sector.

This can help you:

  • widen your talent pool
  • get a workforce with a broader range of skills and experience
  • recruit people who have overcome their own challenges and have lived experience and resilience to make them a great care worker
  • bring fresh ideas and solutions to your organisation
  • recruit people with a strong commitment to your organisation who are more likely to stay for longer.

We're encouraging adult social care employers to see the potential in people, regardless of  background, and recruit a workforce which reflects the communities they serve. ADASS supports this approach and they told us:

“The right values, behaviours and attitudes are the raw materials for quality care and support - good induction, training and management will do the rest."


This year we’re working with four initiatives in England that put values, individuality, diversity, and life experience at the heart of adult social care recruitment. 

Inspirative Development Ltd

Inspirative Development is working with YMCA Derbyshire to support homeless people, people who have experienced homelessness and socially excluded people, through a pre-employment work programme.

The programme includes:

  • personal development workshops to build self-esteem and resilience
  • taught sessions to achieve either BTEC Level 1 Introductory Certificate in Health and Social Care or BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Supporting Activity Provision in Social Care
  • a minimum 10 week work placement

Alongside this, YMCA Derbyshire provide holistic support (including accommodation) for participants throughout the project. They create personalised, one-to-one tailored plans for all residents, including emotional support and assistance with independent living skills.


Lincolnshire Care Assocation (LinCa) - Inspire to Influence

LinCa is working predominantly with 17 and 24 year olds in Lincoln and Skegness from a range of backgrounds, including care leavers, ex-carers and long term unemployed.

They’re working closely 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.

Those individuals who excel can receive a further 14 weeks of supportive learning by local colleges to undertake the Adult Care Worker Level 2 Apprenticeship.


Association for Care Training (ACT) 

ACT is working in partnership with Safe and Settled Ltd to 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.


Care Plus Group 

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're using this tried and tested model to support people from disadvantaged groups in Grimsby, including long term unemployed people, people will mental ill-health and disabled people, on a 13 week voluntary placement.

Participants receive intensive one to one support from an employability support officer who coordinates a bespoke support package of interventions tailored to individual needs. This includes work experience, accredited and non-accredited training and support to find employment. 


We’re currently developing resources and guidance for adult social care employers, which we hope to launch in spring 2018.

The Government’s See Potential campaign has online guidance and case studies to help you get started.