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The changing face of a career in social care

Sharon Winfield, Director of Operations for Avery Healthcare

I have been asked many times if the Care Sector offers a good career.

Certainly, the Care Sector market has changed significantly during the time that I have worked in it. There have been major changes in recent times with resident’s acuity becoming more and more complex, thus more bespoke and specialist care is required. This requirement is evident when we look at how the average life expectancy has been increasing over the last 30 years, it has been suggested that one in three babies born after 2013 will be a centenarian, which will have a huge impact on the demand for care going forwards. We also need to look at the increase in numbers of those living with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, 70% of people in care homes have some form of memory problems or dementia.

We have also seen higher regulatory standards from CQC and all this has had a knock-on effect with recruitment; so now we have much higher expectations from companies seeking more specialist skills and employees looking for more support, training and career opportunities. With this, social care is currently under massive pressure and some care providers are on the brink of collapse due to significant cuts in spending over the last five years.

There then becomes an appreciation for a care provider who nurtures employees with a structured career development plan. Those that benefit from strong family values and a grass-roots caring approach, continually learning to adapt to the demands of their business will win hands down, if they follow and integrate these attributes into their core values.

April 2016 saw the National Living Wage set. It is hoped that this increase may well attract more people to a career within healthcare, as currently across the UK, we see a severe shortage of nurses and qualified Senior Carers. Research by the international longevity centre calculated that England is facing a 718,000 shortfall in the number of carers in the elderly and disabled people by 2025. It is estimated that 40% of the entire projected increase in the working age population would need to become carers just to meet the demand.

This statistic highlights the importance of strategic career development and apprenticeships within a strong-values based operator. The Apprenticeship Levy introduced in April 2017 will aid in the career development that is greatly needed in the care sector, it will increase training and support increased productivity, leading to increased profitability for businesses, increasing wages over the long term.

Retaining good staff is now imperative and should be supported with solid investment in employee’s career development through opportunities and training.  Avery Healthcare have introduced a new strategic focus point upon Wellbeing, making it not just a buzz word, but a key part of their core business strategy for residents and staff alike.  Benefiting from a continual review of structure to reflect their business growth they are creating new opportunities for team members at all levels along with, in-depth inductions, skills training, two year apprenticeships and specialist programmes.

So, if you are looking at joining the healthcare sector or to develop your career it would be good advice to choose an employer with a strong values base and who demonstrates their strengths through recognised industry awards. A company that has best practice mentorships and demonstrates imperative recognition and appreciation with great rewards.

Ultimately, times and roles are changing, the future of the Care industry will be based on current employees and those individuals who can be nurtured and encouraged to revalidate, specialise and adapt their skills to keep striving to reach the highest level in their careers.

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