‘Made With Care” A Halfway House According to Leading National Care Provider

By Mike Ranson, commercial director at National Care Group (www.nationalcaregroup.com)

A LEADING national care provider has given its take on a domestic campaign aimed at encouraging more people into a career in care.

National Care Group, which looks after the needs of vulnerable adults in the UK, stated that a government focus on skills was ‘undoubtedly a good move’, but that ‘more work needs to be done’ to address low pay and diversification in the industry.

The comments come after ‘Made with Care’, a nationwide ad campaign, was recently backed by a number of famous faces, including model Christine McGuinness and Paralympian Ade Adepitan. Running until March, the campaign aims to help fulfil the 105,000 vacancies that remain vacant in the social care sector, exacerbating an alreadystretched healthcare industry.

Mike Ranson, commercial director at National Care Group said: “This is all about giving someone that comes into the sector, and those already in it, value.

“A care worker puts in an incredible effort, sometimes switching from a variety of mindsets and roles, from caregiver to psychologist or finan- cial planner to cook, and so much more. It’s hard work so I applaud any focus that is put into identifying skills and recognising value in the social care sector.

“But what I, and many others in my position, would really like to see is the core issues of pay and the type of people coming into the sector being addressed. For many, the big question is ‘from support worker to what – where do I go?’ they can’t see past the day-to-day caregiving and the progression that may lay ahead. It’s a mentally and physically demanding job and, of course, if there’s a pay imbalance against other public sector roles, then undoubtedly there’s going to be difficulties attracting a loyal, quality workforce.

“Then you have to also consider the impact of Brexit and diversification in the sector. Having colleagues from a variety of backgrounds, cultures and experiences really enriches those we support and their lives. So, you have to question if we’ve lost something unique, which we had previously when the UK was in the EU.”

As a 30-year veteran in the health and social sector, Mike serves as the ideal example of the type of messaging the government is aiming to portray in ‘Made with Care’.

Having entered the industry as a care assistant in a private residential home, he now operates as commercial director of National Care Group, which helps change the lives of vulnerable adults across the UK.

For Mike, focus needs to be on retention of skilled individuals in the industry, as well as an expansion of the messaging, for ‘Made with Care’ to be a success.

He said: “When I came into the industry, it was vastly populated by women, mainly stemming from a perception that the work was largely domestic. However, there are more men in the sector now, it’s a healthy balance and the work is so varied.

“From board level to support worker, we are all dependent on each other. That’s what this campaign needs to recognise – the value of people working in this sector. If you have an appetite for life and you are motivated, you can not only do really well career-wise, but you can change lives – you can have massive impact on an individual’s wellbeing and help them achieve what they previously thought was not possible.

“I can’t claim to have seen every ad, but there certainly needs to be an expansion of the messaging – all ages and backgrounds can make a difference and that’s what we need to see.”

In discussing the proposed £500m to support the training and development for carers over the next three years, Mike added that the sector is yet to see fully ‘how the money will filter through’ but that ‘expectations were as high as they ever were’, with an ever-increasing skills gap in the industry.

He said: “If this government can deliver a level of respect to what those in the sector do, then that is half the battle won. The rest will be on delivering on pay promises that has long gestated within this industry.”