In 2021, Skills for Care released its new four-year strategy which maps out the focus of the organisation’s work to support everyone working across social care, now and in the future. Here, Operations Director Tricia Pereira discusses how the strategy will focus on supporting the capability of the workforce and positioning social care as a skilled and valued career path.
Skills for Care’s new four-year strategy has been released to guide our work up until 2025 and to lead us on our mission to support and empower current and future social care leaders, employers, and the wider workforce.
Our strategy is split into four key pillars, all of which carry equal weighting in guiding us towards that goal. One of these pillars is supporting workforce capabilities to ensure staff have the right skills, knowledge, competencies, values, and behaviours to meet current and future needs in our communities.
This will ensure that people who draw on care and support are being provided with the best level of care, and it will also support our workforce in building long and fulfilling careers in social care which nurture and showcase their skills and values. Crucially, focusing on capability will also help to create a wider public understanding and appreciation of social care as a vital part of our society and a valued and esteemed career path, attracting new people to build a career supporting their communities.
For too long, a career in social care has been seen as low-value and low-skilled. This is not the case. A key aim of our capability work is to change these perceptions.
People working in adult social care have a vital role in society and deserve to be recognised as highly-qualified professionals, who are respected for the work they do.
We’ll also be making sure the necessary processes and support are in place for the sector to ensure that leaders, professionals, and staff at all levels in social care have the right skills, knowledge, competencies, and behaviours to meet the needs of the people they support now and in the future.
Creating a career pathway
We are working to support the creation of nationally agreed and consistent career pathways for social care.
These pathways will be linked to defined levels of knowledge, skills, and behaviours and will include learning and development requirements for each role.
Our Think Care Careers online resource is being refreshed and updated. The resource shows the varied types of job roles within social care, it paints a clear career route for people who are new to social care and will set out easily understood entry points for a career in care, including progression opportunities to senior roles and to allied professions.
Having this valuable resource in place allows people to plan, develop and broaden their career journey and enrich their role in social care. This would help people to better understand the necessary and valuable work we do in social care to support individuals, their families and loved ones and importantly show case the many opportunities for professional development and advancement, which will attract more people to a career in care and increase wider public appreciation of the skills and knowledge of our workforce.
Investing in learning and development
It is important that we have clear plans and processes in place to support the continuous professional development of everyone working across social care, and we can use Skills for Care’s data and insights of current and future skills needs to shape and define learning and development for the future.
We understand how important it is to invest in learning and development and we will work with employers, leaders, and managers to ensure people have the skills and resource they need to assess, plan, and access learning and development for their teams.
The past two years have shown more than ever the importance of utilising digital innovations, and moving forward we must place a focus on embedding digital solutions to complement and enhance the way we could work across social care through supporting employers to upskill staff and removing barriers to the use of technology.
Our aim is to ensure that the adult social care workforce has the digital skills, knowledge, capabilities, and behaviours to work, learn and share information using digital technology.
To do this well, we also need to focus on digital leadership, to drive forward digital transformation from within, and this will be core to the digital support and resources we will be offering as we move into 2022 and over the coming years.
As the new year begins, Skills for Care is excited to take the next steps in delivering our strategy and continuing to support the social care workforce.
Through our capability work we are aiming not only to support the workforce in providing the highest level of care and support, but in ensuring that their knowledge, skills, and compassion is understood and valued by everyone across our communities. As we embark on what will be another year of dedication and hard work from our sector, we are proud to do what we can to ensure that everyone working across social care is supported and recognised for that work.