The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England
I was concerned to read a new report recently highlighting the continuing struggle to retain people working in adult social care. The report, The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England, published by Skills for Care, shows that turnover in the sector has increased by 7.6 percent since 2013, with a large proportion of under 30s leaving adult social care for another sector. I was pleased, however, to see some positive findings in the report.
Data shows that workers holding a qualification such as the Care Certificate are more likely to stay in their role. It also seems that Brexit is not impacting (yet) on nationality trends in the workforce, as the number of EU nationals helping to fill gaps in the workforce continues to increase.
Across our care homes we are all too aware of the need to train and retain employees and this report reinforces this need. We’ve invested nearly £3 million in training, learning and development so far this year. We are also proud to invest in our workforce through apprenticeships. We currently have over 600 apprentices in our homes across a wide range of roles and disciplines, and last month, we hired our first cohort of Care Practitioner apprentices, which is a level 5 Apprenticeship providing training for experienced healthcare workers to develop their clinical and non-clinical skills.
Apprenticeships are a great way for us to upskill our people and foster their career pathways, and I'm proud to say that 37 percent of our apprentices are over 40. However, as the report noted, more needs to be done in training and retaining people under 30. Currently, with the exception of the NHS, we are the only health and social care member of Movement to Work, a scheme that aims to provide young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs) with work experience opportunities.
The Skills for Care report came a week after the final report of the Migration Advisory Committee, which advised the Government on what a post-Brexit immigration scheme could look like. Worryingly the report called for restricting access to low skilled migrants and did not recommend any form of special immigration scheme for social care.
At the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month, the Prime Minister confirmed her support for these recommendations as she announced details about the Government’s post-Brexit immigration plans, including plans to restrict migration to those earning over £50,000. We’re expecting more details on the government’s post-Brexit immigration plans to be published later this year.
While we are doing our best to address the high level of turnover in the sector, and the skills gaps that come with it, we know that the work of EU nationals in the social care sector is of great importance and will continue to be so. We hope that the Government will recognise this important contribution in their future immigration plans and we will be working hard to make sure they do.