Wales will need thousands more people to work in caring roles with adults and children by 2030 if it is to keep pace with the growing demand for care services and provide support for communities across the country.
To help attract more people to work in care, a national campaign called WeCare has been launched today.
The campaign is a collaboration between Social Care Wales and leading organisations representing social care, early years and childcare in Wales, as well as other national bodies involved in job-seeking and careers advice.
It is part of a long-term strategy to develop the workforces in the care and health sectors over the next decade, to provide a high-quality, seamless service to the people of Wales.
The campaign will highlight the breadth of career opportunities in care, from childminders and nursery practitioners to home care co-ordinators and care home managers.
As more people in Wales live longer, more will have specific needs that require support inside and outside the home. Projections indicate that around 20,000 more employees will be needed over the next 10 years to answer the growing demands of the population.
Currently, around one in 17 adults in Wales works in social care or early years and childcare (around 113,000 people), making it a bigger employer than the NHS. But this area of work is still growing.
The WeCare campaign aims to show the variety of roles and career progression opportunities available. By using real care workers, the campaign focuses on the challenges they face, as well as what makes their work rewarding and worthwhile.
Aled Burkitt from Monmouthshire works as a care and support worker for people living with dementia. He says: “I used to work quite unsociable hours as a chef. But when my son was born, I needed something with more flexibility.
“My grandad had dementia and I saw how his carers supported him and the bond they had. I thought I’d be good at that job and now I support people in the community living with dementia.
“It’s difficult at times. It’s all about building relationships and working out how you can build trust. But walking into the first visit of the day to see a big smile on the faces of the people I support is priceless.”
Amanda Calloway has been working as a childminder for 12 years. She says: “I used to work in banking, in quite a stressful role, but after having my children, I decided to look into childminding temporarily.
“Twelve years later I’m still at it. It’s allowed me to access education alongside running my business and as I work from home, it’s flexible enough to fit around my life.
“I enjoy running and being outdoors, so I take the children to the nature reserve, the woods or the beach as much as possible. It’s a rewarding career, even though it’s hard work. To have the opportunity to shape the future of children’s lives is fantastic.”
Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services Julie Morgan said:
“In Wales, we are fortunate to have a team of highly-committed and dedicated social care, early years and childcare professionals who go above and beyond every day. From caring and helping our youngest children to develop and thrive, to providing support and compassionate care to adults and older people, they make a huge difference to people’s lives. But we need more people to consider these highly rewarding careers.
“That’s why I’m delighted to support the new WeCare campaign. It’s been designed to showcase the opportunities social care, early years and childcare sectors can offer to all those with the right caring skills and qualities and the support which is available to help them develop and nurture their skills to support the people they assist live full and active lives.
“I am grateful to Social Care Wales and their partners, particularly care workers who have shared their experiences, for their work on this campaign. I hope their stories will inspire people to become our next generation of carers, childcare practitioners, childminders and care assistants.”
Sue Evans, Chief Executive of Social Care Wales said: “In Wales, around 90,000 people work in social care, while 23,000 work in early years and childcare. However, we still need more people if we are going to meet the needs and expectations of society over the next 10 years.
“Working in social care, early years and childcare can be demanding, but it’s also hugely worthwhile. The WeCare campaign has been developed to attract the right people to support some of the most vulnerable members in our communities or help inspire the next generation.
“There are a variety of roles available working with adults and children, as well as opportunities to gain qualifications on the job and progress careers. New qualifications in health, social care and childcare are being launched from September this year and this campaign is part of a broader plan to make sure we have a workforce across care and health services that will meet the future needs of the people of Wales.”
For more information about some of the roles available and to see examples of real people who work in Wales and those they support, visit WeCare.wales. This website will be updated frequently, with further details and useful information.