DYW TACKLING SKILLS SHORTAGE IN HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE SECTOR

An ageing workforce coupled with an increasing struggle to attract new people to work in health and social care is crippling the sector.

Scottish Care, the body that represents private and voluntary providers of social care, recently released data which revealed more that 77% of care homes have open vacancies and some 89% of care at home and housing support services are also struggling to fill roles.

Worryingly, it looks like these numbers are only on the increase as less and less young people are choosing the health and social care sector as a career option.

Developing Young Workforce Perth and Kinross (DYW P&K) is working in partnership with professionals in this sector to address these issues.

Fiona Reith DYW P & K Manager said: “As a sector that employs a high percentage of our local workforce, we are working very hard to identify where we can support care providers.”

“We are delighted that there is already an understanding of the value of working with young people across some of the providers. Together we are looking at new ways to inform and engage their future workforce in an industry that, at some point in our lives, we will all undoubtedly rely on.”

The DYW team is working in parthership with The Care & Wellbeing Co-op – a group of care professionals providing innovative care and wellbeing services across rural Perthshire. Gillian Gilchrist, member of The Care &Wellbeing Co-op said; “The implications of less young people considering a career in care are far reaching. For example, consider the scenario with no new workers coming forward to support and care for our rural communities. Families will be forced to move family members further and further away as there will be fewer care solutions available close by.  This will result in increased pressure on the central services, as the inability to recruit at a local level will spiral costs and limit short-term emergency solutions.”

Gillian continued: “Unfortunately there are many issues discouraging young people from entering the sector including perception that it has low rates of pay, poor working conditions, no career path, low skills and high turnover.  In addition, repeated maxim that there are always jobs available in care because nobody with any real skills would consider it as a career.”

“Our members are delighted to be working with young people and helping them to understand the diverse roles within the sector including wellbeing services – an area which is becoming increasingly important in today’s society.”

Fiona Reith added; “Recent research indicated that the values young people have today are ideally suited to working in the health and social care sector. In addition, young entrepreneurs and innovators will be in great demand as the sector continues to transform and evolve to meet our needs in the future.”

DYW P & K is also working with Balhousie Care Group. Balhousie is committed to engaging with its future workforce and provides work experience and volunteering opportunities for young people across the group.

Jozi Stables, Care Home Manager at Balhousie Ruthven Towers said; “Young people have so much to offer. As an organisation, we have lots of opportunities and want to inspire young people to work in care and promote our various career pathways to them. We see working with our local schools as critical to achieving this.”

“As with most businesses, we are specialists in what we do but are not necessarily experts in working with young people or schools. DYW is an excellent resource to help organisations, like ourselves, partner with education and engage with young people.” Jozi added

Fiona Reith continued; “We need to help our young people understand how their skills can translate into the sector and the exciting and rewarding opportunities it offers. Providing opportunities such as work experience, going into school and giving career inspiration talks and offering industry insight visits are just a few of the ways businesses can get involved.”

“However, we need more organisations like Balhousie and The Care & Wellbeing Co-op to help us. Together we can start to influence and make a difference!” Fiona concluded.

If you would like to get involved, contact Donna Kudarenko  dkudarenko@dywpk.org.uk

To get in touch with Gillian Gilchrist, email gillian@heartlandbefriending.scot

To get in touch with Jozi Stables, email Jozi.Stables@balhousiecare.co.uk