Skills for Care

Oonagh Smyth

Chief Executive, Skills for Care

Oonagh Smyth is CEO of Skills for Care. For seven years she was Executive Director of Strategy and Influence at Mencap leading a directorate of around 500 people across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Oonagh has held roles at the Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action and the Northern Ireland Equality Commission, senior roles in Westminster Equalities Partnership and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations. She is a former Co-Chair of the Care and Support Alliance, which is a cross-sector alliance of 80 social care organisations influencing at the highest government levels.

Blogs and articles written by Oonagh Smyth

Why we can’t recruit our way out of a retention crisis

07 May 2024

As we launch our #KeepTheRightPeople campaign, our CEO Oonagh Smyth discusses why it’s important to retain the best staff and the factors that impact …read more


Why learning and development matters and how you can #KeepLearning in 2024

11 Jan 2024

As we launch our #KeepLearning campaign our CEO Oonagh Smyth discusses why it’s important to #KeepLearning and how Skills for Care can support you in …read more

Learning and development

Skills for Care

Thank you for contributing to our ‘State of’ report for 2023

12 Oct 2023

As we launch this year’s ‘State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England’ report, our CEO Oonagh Smyth gives thanks to the adult socia…read more


Skills for Care

Why we need to recruit a new demographic into a career in care

14 Sep 2023

Our CEO, Oonagh Smyth, discusses the importance of attracting a new demographic into a career in care, including more men and younger people. read more

Culture and diversity


Why knowing more about the great people who work in care matters

12 Jul 2023

Did you know that there are around 1.6 million dedicated and highly skilled people working in adult social care? Oonagh Smyth, CEO of Skills for Care,…read more


Workforce planning

Skills for Care

Workforce intelligence

Next steps for the Care workforce pathway for adult social care

26 Jun 2023

As the call for evidence for the new care workforce pathway closes, Oonagh Smyth, CEO, Skills for Care and Anna Boaden, Deputy Director Department of …read more

Learning and development



Skills for Care

Workforce development

What integration means for social care

25 May 2023

In this joint blog from Skills for Care CEO Oonagh Smyth and Director of System and Social Partnership at NHS Employers Rebecca Smith, they discuss wh…read more



Why we’re #CelebratingSocialCare this April

03 Apr 2023

As we launch our #CelebratingSocialCare spotlight, our CEO Oonagh Smyth shares why it’s so important for us to celebrate social care and why we’d love…read more

Skills for Care

Reflections and lessons on workforce capacity in adult social care

19 Dec 2022

Our CEO Oonagh Smyth recently attended the Leading Age conference in Denver. She reflects on key takeaways from the event. read more


Learning and development



Update - Our pledge supporting full and equal contribution at events from people who draw on social care

26 Jul 2022

Our CEO Oonagh Smyth looks at what we have been doing to make good on our pledge to ask organisers of events to ensure full and equal contribution fro…read more

Skills for Care