An expert in Health & Social Care sector training, development and retention has welcomed the Government’s £75m investment to help people progress in their careers – but warned more must be done to avoid catastrophic staffing shortages.
The Government recently set out plans for a new accredited qualification and a national career structure for the adult social care workforce.
It says the qualification will benefit around 37,000 workers within the sector, while the defined career pathway will help people plan their future progression.
Lesley O’Connor is Head of Strategic Development at Realise, a leading training provider which offers numerous qualifications in the sector.
She said while the funding package would make adult social care a more attractive proposition, it would likely only make a small difference to the 152,000 vacancies within the sector.
“This Government investment to add accreditation to the Level 2 Adult Social Care Certificate is very welcome and it will give the qualification additional value,” said Lesley.
“A clearly defined career pathway is also something I have championed for a long time and it offers people a clear route to progress their careers.
“It will also help to improve perceptions of adult social care as a whole. People still think of adult social care as looking after old people and everything that goes with that but the opportunities are far more varied, including helping young people with disabilities and assisting with treatment and recovery from addiction.
“I hope it will encourage school leavers to consider adult social care as a viable, skilled career with progression opportunities rather than a stop-gap. It will undoubtedly help to raise the profile of the sector and will give people with limited qualifications the chance to build their skills.
“It’s well-known that people stay longer at places where training is available.”
People in adult social care jobs will be able to enrol on the new Level 2 Adult Social Care Certificate qualification between June this year and March 2025.
There will be other training initiatives available, including a new digital leadership qualification to help managers in the sector with the implementation of technology.
But Lesley warned that this funding must be followed up with decisive Government action to plug the gap in care sector vacancies.
She said: “There is a bigger conversation to be had at a time when there are 152,000 vacancies within adult social care. It is predicted we will need 440,000 care workers by 2035.
“While this is a good starting point, the Government must pledge future funding to support the long-term sustainability of the sector to attract many more people into roles at all levels. If decisive action is not
taken soon, we could be facing unimaginable consequences over the next decade.
“Valuing the current workforce and giving them opportunities to upskill is important, but ultimately pay and conditions need to improve to attract new blood into the sector rather than going into retail or
Realise is one of the country’s leading training providers, working with more than 1,000 employers and more than 10,000 learners a year throughout apprenticeships and adult education courses.
For more information, visit https://bit.ly/realisetraining