Talk Health and Care

Care is a career

Arguably, it has never been more important to be a carer. Not because the care and support provided hasn’t always been essential to those who need it, but because we are facing an ever-increasing skills gap as the rate of people entering the sector to work is much lower than the increasing rate of people who need access to complex care.

This issue doesn’t just end with attracting more people to the sector. There is considerable churn within the sector and people leaving care jobs to enter other professions. According to figures from the government, in 2017 350,000 carers left the sector, which equates to around 958 every day.

This is leaving the individuals who need care most with ‘fragmented care’ and for some, constant disruption and changing of carers is leaving them distressed and without the right support they need. We must see change across the UK so that the individuals who need care most have access to consistent, quality support. So how do we attract, recruit and retain more people to the sector?

A career in care is for life. There aren’t too many professions where people can say that what they do every day has a direct impact on the quality of life someone leads. Yet there is a perception in wider society that working as a carer or healthcare assistant is an unskilled or uneducated position.

We must do more to make people working and coming into the sector aware of the training that is available. Giving care workers more control over their career path, is just one part of making them feel more empowered. Training can add new skills, behaviours and knowledge to a carer’s repertoire which in turn can help boost confidence. Confidence is a fantastic driver for people in all walks of their life.

In the care environment, confidence can inspire carers to use their voice to present new ideas and challenge their working environment to make change happen, to improve delivery of treatment and support for patients.

We must all do more to help provide a clearer career path for carers so they can make care a career, not just a job.

edited on Dec 20, 2018 by Isabel DHSC

Adam DHSC 6 months ago

Thanks for your comment Fay.

As I'm sure you are aware, we launched a recruitment campaign in pilot sites in England recently with a focus on caring as a rewarding career. Training and developing staff is important to help staff feel valued and I welcome your comments - in particular 'what they do every day has a direct impact on the quality of life someone leads'. I don't think we can emphasise this enough to both current and future individuals who work in social care.

Empowering staff to feel proud of their role and have the confidence to inspire others in part comes from training and staff development. Beyond this, what else do you think would help this?


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Fay Gibbin 5 months ago

Hi Adam,

Thanks for responding to my message and Happy New Year.

Yes, I am interested to see the outcome of the recruitment campaign once it is complete. I’m sure its findings will be able to give the sector as a whole guidance on how we can make a career in care more appealing to more people and, as you say, raise awareness of the rewards it brings.

I think on top of making sure more carers are encouraged and given access to training, carers need to be recognised as skilled workers. Many people on the platform have touched upon this and I think at the moment it’s no surprise that some carers aren’t motivated to take up training. I feel this may be because even if they do, they still won’t be considered to be ‘skilled workers’ and many are recruited into the sector with the knowledge that they only need to learn ‘the basics’.

On another thread, Sarah O’Connor touched upon the idea of a mandatory professional register. I think this would not only help to ensure care workers have the right training, values and support to give patients the care they need, but I think it would also improve confidence and empower individuals. I think having your name on a professional register would give you a sense of achievement and pride in the knowledge that you are considered a professional in the role you are so passionate about. It would recognise the skills care workers have acquired, their commitment to their role and most of all, the importance of their profession as a whole.

A British Journal of Healthcare Assistants poll of staff in 2013 found 93% of those surveyed backed compulsory registrations, seeing healthcare assistants recognised on an official register in the way nurses are. The poll indicates the passion and level of feeling there is in the sector to do everything we can to ensure quality care is provided to all.

I hope we see something along the lines of a mandatory register put forward in the Social Care Green Paper.

Thanks Adam.

Best wishes,

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Sam P DHSC 5 months ago

Dear Fay,

Thank you very much for posting your ideas and thoughts. As you say, several users have brought up the importance of recognising the social care workforce as skilled, including the Minister for Care in her comment on this idea: We welcome all these ideas as responses to the upcoming Green Paper consultation.

Thank you again,

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Sarah O'Connor 5 months ago

Thank you for the mention Fay. We do need to invest more in our staff if we are to retain and build an outstanding workforce. Formal recognition of the value and worth of care workers is long overdue.


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