HOW ENABLE IS SUPPORTING THE GROWING SOCIAL CARE SECTOR
The care sector is one of the most important services in the UK economy, employing over 2.6 million people nationwide and supporting almost 1 million adults with a variety of care needs, either on a residential basis or in their own homes.
With an ageing population, adult social care in England provides an essential lifeline for many older people and adults with complex care needs, enabling them to either live independently or access the level of support they need.
For those who pursue a career in care, the benefits can be tremendously rewarding. Long-term job security, a close-knit and supportive working culture and a strong sense of personal satisfaction are some of the many reasons people choose to work in the sector.
A rewarding career choice
Other benefits include ongoing training, excellent career progression routes, growing opportunities to work flexible days or hours, and generous pension schemes; some care employers also provide staff bonuses, above-average holiday allowance, loyalty schemes and NHS discounts.
But the care sector has been experiencing a deepening recruitment crisis for the past decade. Rising demand for services, made worse by funding pressures, competition for EU staff post-Brexit and the long-term effects of the pandemic have created ongoing staffing challenges. This year, unfilled vacancies – particularly in home care – rose to 14% in April, up from 7% in 2021.
In a county like Shropshire, where almost 25% of the population is aged 65 or over (compared to an average of 18.5% across England and Wales), the demand for both qualified and entry-level care staff is significant.
One way that Enable is working to help address this challenge is by encouraging young people with disabilities or mental health needs to explore careers in care through paid placements and routes into employment.
Pursuing a passion
A recent successful placement was Mathematics graduate Louise, who’d had experience of working in the care industry while studying. After graduating, Louise struggled with depression and anxiety which made finding work more difficult.
She was referred to Enable by the Community Intervention Pathway in early 2021, and we learned that she felt passionate about pursuing a career in care, but was nervous about starting a new role; particularly during a pandemic when employment opportunities were more limited.
Louise felt anxious about the idea of meeting new people and was concerned about being able to handle the responsibilities of a role in care.
It was important to help her overcome these barriers and build her confidence before exploring career opportunities, so we helped Louise to identify all her key skills and qualities so that she could appreciate her own unique capabilities and use them to craft a positive CV.
After researching and contacting a number of local care companies, we submitted Louise’s CV for a range of domiciliary care roles. After her first interview, she was offered the job with an immediate start after training, but the speed of the programme made Louise anxious and overwhelmed.
A fresh approach
We took some time to discuss a change of approach and to explore the mental health support Louise needed to feel more comfortable, and found another employer who was extremely supportive. Being offered the role of a Domiciliary Care Assistant was a tremendous confidence boost for Louise, and together we worked to outline her next steps and reduce her anxieties.
Enable also developed a built-in support plan to help Louise progress through her training and induction, and after successfully completing it, the manager was so impressed that Louise was offered career progression opportunities.
“The employer was so supportive and they’re really happy to have Louise as a valued member of their care team,” said Hannah Dodd, Employment Specialist at Enable. “Louise has come so far since we began working with her, and seeing the positive change since she started work has been absolutely amazing.”
As the care industry to grow, Enable believes there will be tremendous opportunities for more young people to build rewarding, successful and long-term careers in this highly valued sector.
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