There is a jobs crisis in the social care sector in Wales

An employment and training service is targeting new candidates to help meet unprecedented demand for workers in the social care sector.

Conwy Employment Hub is holding virtual sessions that will introduce would-be recruits to roles within the industry, held over four days later this month.

In partnership with the Welsh Government and WeCare Wales, the Hub – which oversees the Communities for Work, Communities for Work Plus, and PaCE initiatives – is hoping to attract people who are currently NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

With the UK facing a care jobs crisis – Brexit and mandatory vaccinations are among the biggest issues facing health chiefs – there is a nationwide push to plug the gaps as soon as possible.

Libby Duo, Strategic Manager for Conwy Employment Service, said: “While the sector is facing a tough time due to various factors it is important to remember this is a rewarding and skilled profession which needs support more than ever before.

“The two-day ‘Introduction to Social Care’ events will be held online, making them more accessible, and will provide basic knowledge of what’s needed to apply for a job.

“Essential skills include being reliable and committed with a positive and friendly attitude, caring for others, and demonstrating adaptability.

“If successful the candidates will receive further training in-post and there are progression pathways – it’s a great opportunity.”

In the last month, there were reportedly more than 760 care vacancies on recruitment portals in Wales, and nationally the number of old people living with advanced dementia is expected to double over the next two decades.

There are more than 70 care homes in Conwy county – 19 of which are private – and 30 domiciliary agencies.

Conwy’s Head of Integrated Adult and Community services Claire Higgins says the time is now to reverse the trend and lay the foundations for a more sustainable social care industry.

“There are dozens of careers within adult social care alone and it is a rewarding profession,” she said.

“For the aforementioned reasons we are in dire need of more workers across the country, so our aim is to demonstrate the many benefits to a career in this arena.

“From a personal perspective, social care has offered me so many opportunities over the last 25 years, developed my skills via training and experience and helped me to the position I am in now.

“I started as a support worker at 19 years old and found there are so many avenues you can take because there are so many people with such a variety of needs and age groups that we care for and support in different ways – we hope people will join us to find out more.”

Last year, WeCare Wales launched a bilingual online platform developed by Social Care Wales in collaboration with a wide range of national and local organisations to help jobseekers improve their employability, and employers identify people most suited to working in social care roles.

Their aim is to attract more than 20,000 extra people to social care and childcare over the next decade.

Sue Evans, Chief Executive of Social Care Wales, said: “With so many people looking for work we wanted to provide something that could help potential applicants understand if care is right for them, and if so, help them stand out from the crowd.

“Applying for a role in social care is great and we need all the support we can get, but a high turnover of staff makes things particularly difficult – not only for employers who then need to find someone else, but also the people they support. We want to help give more of an insight into these important roles, and the new online learning resource helps us do that.”