Why Is No One Talking About The Great Career Opportunities In The Care Sector?

By Mitesh Dhanak, Chair of the Organising Committee of Championing Social Care and Founder of Precious Homes (www.precious-homes.co.uk)

News about understaffing in the care sector has dominated UK headlines recently. The Times reported that 410,000 care workers quit their jobs last year, with vacancies in the sector nearly doubling to 10%. The Independent, Financial Times and ITV too have allweighed in recently on the causes and solutions for the crisis.

Clearly, there is a challenge for the sector to attract and retain the quality staff it needs. It is true that wages and pay progression in social care continue to complicate recruitment and retention – especially when compared to other sectors.

But what no one is talking about is the great career opportunities in the care sector, particularly at management level – and indeed, as a sector we need to do more to showcase these opportunities to attract and retain high quality individuals into what many in the sector know can be a rewarding career.

On average, a manager at a care home can typically earn between £25,000 – £40,000 each year, progressing to higher salaries with experience and seniority. This is on par with the salary of an architect or a junior doctor, and most importantly, stands significantly above the UK average wage.

Though managerial jobs require demonstrated experience and skill, they do not need years of specialised education or advanced technical skills. This makes the career path in social care easily accessible to anyone – especially school leavers. Through high quality apprentice programmes, school leavers can start out as support workers and progress to manager level in as little as seven years.

School leavers are not the only people who can benefit from such career opportunities.

While pay remains a crucial factor for any professional, most workers in the sector are equally motivated by the desire to leave a positive impact in the lives of others. Naturally, we see a lot of examples of people leaving high-profile careers and lucrative jobs in professional services to enter more fulfilling roles in social care.

Take Rob – inspired by a passionate healthcare assistant who cared for his mother during her final few days in hospital and seeking greater fulfilment in his career, he is a former accountant who made the switch to the care sector. After a few years of working as a Nurse, he was promoted to a Home Manager. Shortly after, he became an Area Director at a leading care home operator. Today, he mentors Home Managers and passes on valuable leadership skills, something that he finds incredibly rewarding.

Managers and workers in care homes across the UK often tell us that their careers in care have offered an opportunity to deploy existing skills in a context that is much more meaningful and fulfilling. Having started out in the hospitality industry, Ollie is a chef who entered the care sector because of his belief that all people deserve to enjoy great food – something that should not change when they move into a care home.

One of his favourite memories as Head Chef was just three weeks into the role, when he delivered a buffet for a Relatives’ meeting. He enjoyed being able to put a stamp on the role, showcasing his ability within catering while also receiving a warm welcome and appreciation for his food from the residents and relatives.

These examples are just a few of the many stories of tremendous growth, and immense personal and professional satisfaction abundant in the sector. However, none of these messages make headlines in the national media. It is clear that as an industry, we need to do much more to highlight the benefits of a career in care, to stem the staff exodus and to encourage many more ambitious, bright and compassionate people into the sector.

That is why Championing Social Care is proud to host Care Home Open Week – an event that will showcase the great career opportunities in the sector. We also hope to show off the facilities, services and activities available in care homes, and encourage greater community engagement and volunteering.

Last year’s event received engagement from Helen Whatley MP (Minister for Social Care), Sir Ed Davey MP (Leader of the Liberal Democrats) and Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan MP (Shadow Minister for Mental Health). We aim to build upon this success with this year’s event by celebrating the value of social care and connecting care homes across the country with their communities and potential employees.

Interested participants can register for Care Home Open Week 2022 or learn more by visiting
www.championingsocialcare.org.uk/care-home-open-day/

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