The council’s We Care Academy team also picked up the Best recruitment initiative Accolade at a glittering ceremony for their innovative work with partners to recruit and retain new adult social care staff
Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen said: “This is a well-deserved award for Leeds City Council’s We Care Academy who not only won their category in the face of very fierce completion, but then convinced a panel of expert judges they deserved the top prize.
“Adult social care will need to find up to 800,000 new people over the decade so we will sharing learning from the exemplary work the We Care Academy is doing to make sure we have the right people with the rights skills, knowledge and values to meet future care and support needs.
“The nine Accolades categories celebrate the outstanding achievements of employers from across our growing sector who are all united by an absolute commitment to invest in quality learning and development opportunities for their workers.”
Leeds City Council’s vision is to be the best city in the UK promoting better lives for all their citizens and the team have worked in partnership with Job Centre Plus, Barnsley College and local providers to develop a We Care Academy to attract, recruit and retain people with the right values to work in social care.
They have combined three initiatives to achieve the We Care Academy – the I Care Ambassador Service, a Sector Based Work Academy and the Health and Social Care Apprenticeship Programme – and candidates undertake placements with one of 20 local providers.
All applicants are invited to an initial information session to learn about working in social care from I Care Ambassadors and a registered manager. Interested candidates are tested on numeracy and literacy and if successful are invited for an interview which is informed by a valued based profile.
Candidates complete a two week training programme specifically designed for the We Care Academy and then go on to a six week placement. All candidates are supported on a weekly basis throughout the placement by the college, the project co-ordinator as well as the placement manager and this level of support has contributed to high levels of retention of candidates in adult social care.
The others eight Accolades winners were:
Best employer of under 250 staff – Hand in Hands
Best employer of over 250 staff – Local Solutions
Best individual employer who employs their own care and support staff – Linda Moss
Best provider of learning and development – The Smart Enterprise
Best employer support for Apprenticeships – The Fremantle Trust Development and Education Centre
Best employer support for the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) – Essex County Council Adult Operations
Most effective approach to integration and innovation – Stockport Council Reablement and Community Home Support Team (REaCH)
Best employer use of workforce intelligence – Norfolk and Suffolk Care Support and Norfolk County Council HR Shared Services