News Opinion

Innovative Recruitment and Retention

Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, CEO, , The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society

Commander Brian Boxall-Hunt, CEO for specialist maritime charity, The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, explores how the recruitment and retention of staff is key to the running of a successful care home.

A recent study by Skills for Care projected that by 2035 the UK will need to source an additional 950,000 jobs to support the adult social care sector[1] (a 59% increase on 2018 figures). To put this into perspective, between 2012-2017, the number of jobs in care home services with nursing increased by just 4 percent. With an ageing population and 110,000 adult social care job vacancies at any one time, the need for social care jobs is now greater than ever.

Here at the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society, we strongly believe in nurturing our staff throughout all stages of their career. We recognise the current issues facing the adult care sector, which means we do all we can to support those that dedicate so much of their lives to caring for others.

The Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society is a registered charity and was established in 1865, we provide nursing, dementia, residential and respite care to retired seafarers and residents of non-seafaring backgrounds from across the UK.

It is easy to see why staff at Royal Alfred choose the home to develop their career, with elements such as our dedicated in-house trainer, Sharon Hicks, who delivers on average eight courses per month for staff across the home providing support whenever it is required. We also provide staff with a specialist Maritime Acquaint Training programme in order for employees to experience the demands of working at sea. Working at sea is a dangerous profession and talks from experienced seafarers, trips aboard shipping vessels and unique training sessions discussing personal experiences of those employed at sea provide an insight to the lives of residents and enables care to be tailored to individual requirements.

We’re proud of the fact that staff training levels at the home reached an all time of high of 100% in 2018, meaning each member of staff has the necessary skills to deliver an excellent standard of care and compassion for all our residents.

Many of our staff choose to make Royal Alfred a long-term career choice, one in particular, Anne Kasey who this year celebrated her 35th year at the Society. Starting out as a nurse, Anne worked her way up to become the home’s most senior nurse and eventually Home Manager in 2005. Anne is a prime example of the high-level of support staff at the Society receive to help develop and sustain a strong career in the care sector and she is not alone in her devotion to the home and sector.

This year, we awarded an additional five staff members ten-year service awards, a tradition that is annually celebrated with those hitting their milestones at the home. In a sector, where on average, the length of time in a nursing care home role is 3.9 years; at Royal Alfred, we stand out with an average of 6.5 years, supporting our residents with valuable experience.

The current staff turnover rate within the adult social care industry sits at 30.7%, compared to the Society’s much lower 14%, a figure we are proud of. As a charity that specialises in delivering dementia care to retired seafarers and their dependents, this is crucial in developing trusting relationships between staff and residents, providing a comfortable and supportive environment in which to live.

Our latest annual satisfaction survey revealed that 98% of residents felt their expectations were being met or exceeded by the care team, which is testament to the benefits brought about by having a strong team. With such unique opportunities here for staff to develop their skills, we truly believe this strongly contributes towards our excellent staff retention rates as like the outstanding care we offer our residents, with that also comes the care and support to our staff.

To find out more about the Royal Alfred Seafarers’ Society please visit the website:



Edel Harris





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