Adult social care is moving up the political agenda but more needs to be done to ensure the workforce remains skilled and knowledgeable, says Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen.
Allen told the Westminster Health Forum on Tuesday 15 January that she is confident that a workforce strategy will be a key part of the Green Paper when it is published. The Green Paper is expected by April.
“We need a skilled and valued workforce to deliver the care and support needed,” she said. “Social care is a people business and, although we are seeing advances in technology such as artificial intelligence and robotics, when it comes to the ‘social’ element people want to be looked after by a human who cares.”
Allen added that recruiting and retaining staff remained employers’ biggest challenge: by 2035 there will be an additional 650,000 roles in social care. There are currently 110,000 job vacancies every day.
She also told the Westminster Health Forum event that she is infuriated that some people still consider social care to be low skilled because it can be low paid. She also felt it was “shameful” that so many carers were paid the minimum wage considering the job they do and the responsibility they have.
“The challenge is to get the high skilled narrative out there and to show people why they should consider a career in care,” she said. “Skills for Care is helping employers up-skill their staff but there also needs to be more investment in care managers and the leaders who set the culture in care homes.”