Care job vacancies rise to 110,000

Posted on: 27 September 2018

The Department of Health and Social Care this week announced that it’s going to run a recruitment campaign to help employers attract people with the right values into social care.

The announcement comes as the charity, Skills For Care, publishes information showing that job vacancies in adult care have risen.  They say that around 110,000 adult care jobs in England are left vacant, a rise of 22,000 in a year.

But the care sector is growing.  It’s grown by 21 per cent, or 275,000 jobs, since 2009, reflecting growing demand and an aging population.   The number of 65 and overs is set to increase between 2017 and 2035 from 10 million to 14.5 million people in England, a rise of around 44 per cent.

But vacancy rates vary across England.  In Devon, excluding Plymouth and Torbay, there are an estimated 1,200 job vacancies in social care alone, not including health care vacancies.

Devon County Council says that while the general picture is improving, many more people are needed to work in the health and care sector in Devon to keep up with demand.

Campaigns, including the Council’s Proud to Care Devon campaign, are helping.

Proud to Care Devon began two years ago, to encourage people to consider taking up careers in care.  It aims to raise awareness of caring, and to celebrate the true value of it to the people who receive care as well as the sense of what it means to the person providing the care.

Care providers in the county say that the campaign is helping to raise the profile of caring.  And anecdotally many say that they have seen more applications for vacancies that they have advertised through the Proud to Care Devon jobs website.

So much so the campaign is now also encouraging people to consider careers in health care, as well as in social care.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for adult social care said:

“Although the challenge in Devon is no different to counties across the UK, the shortage of people working in care and support is perhaps more acute in parts of the country where demand is highest.  Devon, as we know, has an older population on average to many other counties, and that’s reflected in the high level of demand.

“We work very closely with care providers, and the challenges they have in filling job vacancies has a direct impact on our ability to ensure that care, at home or in residential care, is available to people.”

Sarah Buckle became a care worker 18 months ago, working for Palm Court Nursing Home, in Dawlish.

She’d always cared about other people, so for her it felt like a clear step in the right direction and she is able to work flexibly around her family life.

“I started my career in care working at a care home with residents at the end stages of their life.  More recently I‘ve been supporting our dementia residents and although it can be very challenging at times, I love getting to know each individual and taking the time to learn how dementia is affecting them.  Dementia affects everyone differently.

“Where I work we have end of life residents, so the amount of time you’ll spend with someone varies. Sometimes you might support someone for a few days and other times the residents are with us for several years, so we have time to get to know them.

“The mornings are usually very busy supporting the residents to get washed, dressed and ready for the day.  We make a real event of lunchtime and the afternoons, which are much more social.

“We often have afternoon tea parties and the music man comes in, so it’s a really nice time to get to know people socially.

“Of course it’s hard work too. The first few weeks are the most exhausting mentally.  As with many jobs, you’re busy learning everything you possibly can and you’re constantly thinking about the residents’ needs.

“After the first couple of weeks it’s like you have this new family, and you feel like you gain all these lovely grandparents.

“You make such a difference in their lives, helping them to live more independently.  It’s a wonderful feeling to go home knowing that you’ve made someone laugh or smile.

“Sometimes they’ll tell a story that maybe they haven’t told in 40 or 50 years and you reminisce with them; you know it’s made their day to be able to tell that story to someone. It’s just lovely.

“In my role I’ve been able to access brilliant training. At least once a month we have training on something; be that a refresher course on first aid, food, dysphasia or dementia.

“I’m also doing my Level 2 qualification in health and social care with my work. Although I do most of this work at home, my manager has been really good at helping me to find time for my qualification, allocating hours out of my day when my assessor is coming in so that we can sit and work together.

“Once I complete this qualification I’ll be able to do senior level training, when I feel ready for it.  And following this I can train to become floor lead, so there’s a lot of ways to progress.

“My favourite part is to spend time with the residents and get to know their families. You become part of their extended family in a way. It’s just nice being such an important part of someone’s life.

“I’ve even been invited to the funeral of one of my ladies and I was really touched to be able to go. In the eulogy one of the family members included me in his speech, saying about the difference I’d made and it meant so much to me. It was just so lovely to have that kind of recognition and to have made such a difference to someone’s life.

“That’s what matters to me the most, it’s why I do what I do.”
To read and hear more about what care workers say about their jobs, visit the Proud to Care Devon website, www.proudtocaredevon.org.uk.  There is also a link to some of the vacancies currently available.

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Posted in: DCC Homepage | Health and Wellbeing