Talk Health and Care

We must give more carers access to training

‘Everyone should have access to learning and development that enables them to provide high-quality care and to develop in their career’. I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Sadly, we are far away from this becoming a reality in the current system.

According to Skills for Care, 47% of workers in adult social care don’t hold a relevant qualification. Whereas only 24% of the sector hold a Level 2 and only 19% hold a Level 3 qualification. These stats are very worrying, especially for a sector where many in the workforce have a direct impact on the quality of life people lead.

Training has to be at the forefront of change in the sector going forward to ensure quality of care is maintained, improved, and consistent across the UK.

Yet to this date, care workers aren’t even recognised as skilled workers. How can this be the case when so much dedication, determination, knowledge and skills are needed to ensure outstanding care is provided to meet the needs of individuals? Ongoing training should be part of the DNA of any skilled worker.

As a sector we not only need to provide and support our workforce with training, to develop them and give them incentives to stay in their roles, but we also need to do all we can to change perceptions inside and outside the sector, to make working in adult social care more attractive to more people. If we do this, we can boost the number of skilled workers to meet the growing demand for complex care.

For care homes and settings, the challenge is understanding what funding is available to support their workforce with training. Funding and clear guidance around it has to be a priority of the upcoming green paper to drive quality of care for the individuals who need it most.

How does your employer help you to develop your skills or career?

What would you like to happen to enable you to develop your skills and career more?

Debbie Gardiner MBE 2 weeks ago

I was so pleased to see this as this is what I've been saying for some time. A lack of staff training will result in more hospital admissions this winter and more bed blocking because care homes aren't equipped to have them return without more training. The longer term impact will a lack of succession planning, leading to shortages of experienced and skilled managers. The level 2 training is critical and I know from 1st hand relative experience how a lack of training leads to safeguarding issues and the quality of life for service users.

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Fay Gibbin 2 weeks ago

Hi Debbie,

I am pleased to see that you are as passionate about training as I am. I couldn’t agree more. The fact that almost one in two care workers don’t have any relevant training, is leading to the knock-on effect you mention for the NHS and also for the families and loved ones of the people who need the system most.

There is an alarming number of families who are having to take on the role of ‘unpaid carer’ to ensure their loved ones are getting support. Alongside funding for more care services, we need to see a recruitment drive for the sector, as this is unfair on those who are doing everything they can to care for loved ones who need access to quality care.

I would like to see standardised training to ensure consistency in care and to drive quality. Training should be ongoing for every care worker, no matter what stage of their career they are at. If we don’t begin increasing the number of trained care workers now, as you mention, we will face more challenges in the future when there is a lack of skilled managers, leading a low-skilled work force. The up and coming green paper is crucial to the change we want to see.

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Sam P DHSC 4 days ago

Dear Fay

Thank you for your detailed idea. You have picked up on a number of very important issues faced by the social care workforce. Training is of course fundamental to ensuring that citizens receive the highest possible quality of care, but it also directly challenges the harmful misconception that those in the social care workforce are ‘unskilled’. Ensuring more of the workforce have access to training is an important aspect of upskilling the workforce, helping to keep staff working in the sector, and demonstrating to people outside the sector just how valuable and important the work conducted by those in social care truly is.

The Social Care Green Paper will be looking at what more we can do to support people working in social care and we welcome your feedback to the consultation once the paper is published. In particular we’d be very interested in your views on what you think the funding priorities should be, and your opinion on what better and clearer guidance could look like.

We are also launching a national adult social care recruitment campaign in the New Year, so do keep a look out for it locally.

Thank you again for posting your idea, and please continue to share your ideas and comments on the platform.


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Fay Gibbin 3 days ago

Hi Sam,

Thanks for reading my post and taking the time to get back to me. I’m glad that you agree that training is key to the future of the sector and to the quality of care. The sooner we can attract and retain more people in the industry the sooner we can ensure that quality of care is consistent across the UK. We are all aware that we have an ageing population, with the number of people who require complex care set to increase substantially in the coming years. We are at a crucial point and hopefully we can work together to bring about the change that is needed.

Like everyone who is passionate about health and social care, I am eager to see what will be put forward in the Social Care Green Paper and I look forward to offering my feedback at the consultation stage. Working closely with employers in the sector, I know for many the main challenges around funding for training are lack of knowledge and access to, the Workforce Development Fund for CPD and accredited courses and confusion around the apprenticeship levy. Alongside the cost and a hesitance to provide training because of high staff turnover (a catch-22 situation), these are the issues we need to address. I think a simple to follow guide for training, development and progression in social care that covers levy, non-levy and WDF funding, is a good place to start.

Another key challenge I know many settings are facing is that they can’t release staff for training as they can’t afford the additional costs to cover them. One of the many reasons we’ll be launching an e-learning platform in the New Year which will make a big difference to providing access to training and development without the need for staff to travel and will be far more cost-effective.

It’s good to hear about the adult social care recruitment campaign. We would love to be involved and to support the campaign, will there be information coming through about how we are able to get involved?

Thank you!

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