How First Response Training is responding to the latest vaccination requirements

National workplace training provider, First Response Training (FRT), has taken decisive steps to ensure the health, safety and welfare of its staff, clients, learners and they people they support.

The leading training provider, which works with hundreds of local and national health and social care providers on a regular basis, has confirmed that all of its trainers are double vaccinated.

FRT have verified that all of their trainers have received two doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccine and have stated that it is their policy, for the foreseeable future, not to recruit or deploy any trainers that remain unvaccinated.

In addition to this, all trainers carry out Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) on a twice-weekly basis and the results are recorded centrally. Trainers can only deliver courses if they have evidence of a negative test result.

Providing Covid-19 secure training

The training provider continued to provide a wide range of workplace training throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, adopting stringent safety procedures to control the risk of transmission. Their Covid-19 Secure Pledge encompassed a number of measures in line with government guidelines, recommendations and changing lockdown rules. This included the development and regular updating of a Covid-19 risk assessment addressing their training activities and additional secure measures for practical training.

FRT also supported many of their clients to move their staff training programmes across to the virtual learning environment, delivering over 2,000 live, remote webinars as well as providing bespoke e-learning courses throughout the pandemic.

The company was also able to access priority vaccination for their trainers due to their role in delivering essential training to frontline workers within settings which housed or supported vulnerable people.

Vaccination requirements for care home workers

Current government guidelines state that all care home workers must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by 11th November 2021 in order to continue to carry out work within a residential care setting, although certain exemptions do apply. Many care services have also confirmed that they will not be allowing anyone who has not been vaccinated to enter their setting.

As a major provider of training to the adult social care sector, with Skills for Care Endorsed Learning Provider status, FRT takes its position on this matter very seriously.

Amy Ridge, Managing Director at FRT, explained: “We deliver training for some of the providers and frontline workers who were hardest hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. They require certain assurances from us, and we are committed to protecting their safety and to enabling them to continue to provide safe, high-quality care through the provision of essential training.

“We must therefore confirm, after careful consideration, that we have made the decision to only utilise trainers who have received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Our entire training team is double vaccinated, and we will not be using any trainers who remain unvaccinated.

“We understand that taking up the offer of vaccination is a personal choice, and can be a sensitive issue, but we have to take steps to protect the health, safety and welfare of our staff, our clients, our learners and the people they support – many of whom are among the most vulnerable members of society.”

You can view and download First Response Training’s poster regarding their policy on vaccination for trainers here.

Annual social care report reveals impact of pandemic

The latest report into adult social care serves as a “stark reminder” that sector bosses face “significant recruitment challenges” with vacancy rates steadily rising since the pandemic.

There's a shortage of care sector workersSkills for Care have published their annual report on ‘The State of the adult social care sector and workforce in England.’

The report, which is based on data provided by sector employers to the Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS), shines a light on the significant impact that the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK has had on both the short- and long-term challenges faced within the sector.

Rise in care worker vacancies, turnover and absences

The data shows that, on average, 6.8% of adult social care roles were vacant in 2020-21, which equates to around 105,000 vacancies being advertised on an average day.

Vacancy rates have steadily risen in the sector since May 2021, when lockdown measures began to ease, and the wider economy started to open back up. By August, vacancy rates had reached their pre-pandemic levels.

The vacancy rate within the sector has remained high at above 6% for the previous 6 years, with turnover rates also persistently high, hitting 28.5% in 2020-21. Turnover did fall during the pandemic, but since March 2021, many adult social care employers have reported that staff retention is now more of a struggle than it was pre-pandemic.

For registered nurses in adult social care, the turnover rate stood at 38.2%, which is much higher than for their counterparts in the NHS (8.8%).

The issue has no doubt been exacerbated by a rise in staff absences, which have nearly doubled from an average of 5.1 days lost in 2019-20 to 9.5 in 2020-21.

Recruitment and retention struggles in care

The report shows that, since March 2021, filled posts have also fallen by around -1.8%. It represents the first time that the number of jobs (filled posts) has fallen in the sector, and as it is happening at the same time that vacancy rates are increasing, it indicates that care providers are struggling with both recruitment and retention.

Skills for Care says that it is important “to make a strong case that these jobs offer highly-skilled careers where you can progress to leadership positions.”

They say that listening to people who use care and support services can help recruiters understand what they want. They need to be supported by people who have the right skills to do so, and people who are trained and developed are then less likely to leave their roles.

Indeed, the report found that adult social care employers with “favourable workplace metrics”, such as high levels of learning and development, had lower staff turnover.

People want to be supported at home

The report also reveals that the steady shift from people receiving support in care homes to receiving support to live in their own homes has been accelerated by the pandemic.

Domiciliary care services were largely responsible for the 2.8% increase in jobs across the adult social care sector, with 40,000 additional jobs recorded within domiciliary care specifically – an increase of 7.4%.

At the same time, care home occupancy rates fell from 86% prior to the pandemic to 77% in March 2021.

Skills for Care says that reforms in the adult social care sector must recognise the desire for people to remain in their own homes.

Recognition and reward for care workers

Although the National Living Wage (NLW) has helped to boost the median nominal care worker hourly rate by 6% since March 2020, the report reveals that employers in the sector have found it more difficult to maintain differentials for more experienced workers.

Care workers with five years’ or more experience in the sector are currently being paid, on average, just 6p more per hour than those who have less than one year of experience.

Skills for Care says that social care is a growing market which currently contributes £50.3 billion to the nation’s economy.

They are now calling for the 1.54 million people who “worked tirelessly throughout lockdown” to be recognised and properly rewarded for their efforts.

They also highlight the fact that social care workers from a Black, Asian or minority ethnicity currently make up more than a fifth (21%) of the workforce. The workforce is also 82% female and almost a third of its members (27%) are aged over 55.

The workforce development charity says that the adult social care sector must embrace this opportunity to become an employer for all.

Skills for Care is committed to working with government and stakeholders across the sector on the upcoming whitepaper to develop a shared vision for a workforce “which enables people to live the lives they want, where they want.”

Creating a sustainable adult social care workforce

The CEO of Skills for Care, Oonagh Smith, commented:

“This report is a stark reminder that our recruitment challenges continue, and to help tackle that we need to properly reward and value care workers for their high skill levels and dedication. We know that this is a priority for the new Government White Paper expected on adult social care this year and look forwarded to seeing the measures contained.”

She added that the social care sector enables “people in our families, our friends and people in our communities to be supported to live the lives they choose. And the workforce in social care are the people that provide that support every day, in every single community.”

Creating a sustainable workforce is now a top priority for Skills for Care, but Ms Smith says: “[…] we know from speaking to employers that the pandemic has had a huge impact on people working in social care. The rich data from this authoritative annual report confirms this pressure, as well as showing us longer term trends in adult social care.”

One doctor told the BBC that a shortage of adult social care workers would have a knock-on effect on the NHS this winter.

Dr Owden, who worked in a hospital discharge ward at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, told the BBC that carers needed to be better paid, with a proper career structure and recognition of their skills. He said a better resourced system would relieve pressure from the NHS when they need it most.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Department of Health and Social Care said they appreciated “the dedication and tireless efforts of care workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond,” and said they would be providing “at least £500 million” to support the workforce.

They added: “We are also working to ensure we have the right number of staff with the skills to deliver high quality care to meet increasing demands. This includes running regular national recruitment campaigns and providing councils with over £1 billion of additional funding for social care this year.”

You can download a copy of The state of the adult social care sector and workforce in England report and an infographic showing all the key findings online.

Learning and development opportunities for care

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and other special focus topics.

Their diverse portfolio includes training awards designed for health and social care organisations, such as Infection Control and PreventionSafeguarding AdultsDuty of CareEquality, Diversity and InclusionUnderstanding Mental Health and many others.

Their course portfolio spans Care Certificate standards, Level 2 and Level 3 Awards and training for supervisors and managers.

They also offer a portfolio of e-learning training courses, including COVID-19 Infection prevention, identification and control.

A trainer from FRT explains:

“It is vitally important that the most vulnerable people in our communities can be provided with high quality, compassionate and person-centred care from the right people at the right time, in the right place.

“We need to recognise and reward the adult social care workforce to ensure this essential care and support is provided.

“There is evidence that providing proper training and further development opportunities can help to improve recruitment and retention issues for employers.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.

Skills for Care launch Day of Remembrance and Reflection

Skills for Care have joined with 20 other social care bodies in England to launch the new Social Care Day of Remembrance and Reflection.

Supported by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Minister of State for Social Care, Helen Whately, the memorial day will honour the work of the adult social care workforce throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and remember those who sadly lost their lives.

The first Social Care Day of Remembrance and Reflection will be held in March 2022.

Twenty-one organisations came together to launch the memorial day after the adult social care workforce experienced a particularly challenging 18 months.

It is intended to honour the tireless work and huge sacrifices made by social care workers during the pandemic as well as to remember the estimated 922 staff members who tragically lost their lives to Covid-19 between March 2020 and May 2021.

Tributes to remember care workers

Tributes to care workers can be shared on The Care Workers’ Charity website, where they have launched a dedicated Memorial Wall and Thank You Wall.

Care providers, care workers and those who use care and support services are also encouraged to honour the day through other activities, such as by planting a tree in honour of a lost care worker, holding a minute’s silence or creating a piece of art.

The CEO of Skills for Care, Oonagh Smith, said the workforce development charity was “delighted” to launch the Social Care Day of Remembrance and Reflection, which would thank social care workers for their crucial care and support.

She added:

“As we lead up to the day itself in March, we encourage those who work in social care, those who draw on care and support, and all members of the public to share their tributes to those people in the social care workforce who have had a positive impact on their lives and communities, through our online Memorial Wall and Thank You Wall.

“We look forward to marking the day in March – a day which is sure to be one of mixed emotions as we reflect on the vital contribution of the social care workforce during the pandemic and at all times, and we encourage as many people as possible to join in and ‘Remember Social Care’ on this day.”

Meanwhile, Helen Whately, Minister for Care, spoke of the “bravery of the social care workforce.”

She said:

“Our hearts go out to the families, friends and colleagues who have sadly lost loved ones and we will take this time to honour and remember them.

“We have worked to protect health and social care staff throughout the pandemic and we will continue to support them and their families in any way we can.”

Supporting adult social care through training

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider.

They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and other special focus topics.

Care home residents are at higher risk from coronavirusTheir diverse portfolio includes training awards designed for health and social organisations, such as Infection Control and PreventionSafeguarding AdultsDuty of CareEquality, Diversity and InclusionUnderstanding Mental Health and many others.

First Response Training are a Skills for Care Endorsed Learning Provider for the delivery of classroom, e-learning and webinar training to the social care workforce.

As an Endorsed Provider, FRT have also recently been awarded grant funding to provide free Covid-19 Essential Training for adult social care workers, including Rapid Induction training for new starters, Refresher Training Programmes for existing staff and an exclusive Volunteer Training Programme for all volunteers in the sector.

A trainer from FRT explains:

“We know first-hand from the many organisations we work with that the social care workforce are hard-working and dedicated to providing high quality, safe and compassionate care for those they support. They have been through an incredibly challenging time and wholeheartedly deserve this recognition and thanks.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.

Skills for Care launch new strategy for ‘widescale change’

Skills for Care have launched their new three-year strategy today (Wednesday 4th August 2021), which sets out their future direction as they support the social care sector to “drive forward widescale change,” and establish a national career pathway.

The independent workforce development charity has developed the new strategy to help it work towards its vision of supporting all those who work in social care roles “to create a fair and just society where people can access the advice, care and support they need to live the lives they want.”

They will continue to work with social care leaders and employers, the government and partners across the social care system to meet the needs of the sector.

In a press release, Skills for Care said they use data and evidence “to drive forward widescale change” and provide best practice guidance, tools, resources and intelligence to support workforce recruitment, training and culture now, and in the future.

Four areas of strategic focus in an ageing society

Their new strategy focusses on four strategic areas for investment and growth over the next three years. These are:

  1. Increasing workforce capacity to ensure the right number of people, with the right values and behaviours, are working in the sector
  2. Supporting workforce capabilities to ensure staff have the right skills, knowledge, competencies, values and behaviours to meet current and future needs
  3. Supporting culture and diversity to ensure everyone across the workforce is treated equally, feels included and valued and is supported to stay well and pursue their careers in social care
  4. Improving the social care system to ensure its adequately funded, supports people to live the lives they choose and attracts the right people to the workforce

The strategy has been developed firmly within the context of an ageing society.

Skills for Care say they recognise that the way social care is delivered needs to change and adapt to support people who are living longer, often with more complex needs, and who have different expectations about how and where their care should be delivered.

They say its vital that the social care workforce is populated by the right people, with the right skills and behaviours, to ensure that people receive the highest quality care and support, in the way they want it and at the time when they need it.

The aim is that people are supported, wherever possible, to live independently, in their own communities, with the people they love.

Building workforce capability

In relation to building workforce capability, the strategy outlines four key ways in which Skills for Care will support this mission:

  • They will support the creation of a nationally agreed and consistent career pathway for social care, including learning and development requirements for each role, that employers understand and use to develop staff appropriately
  • They will use their knowledge of current and future skills needs to shape and define learning and development for the future
  • They will work with employers, leaders and managers to ensure they understand the importance of investing in learning and development, including new technologies, and have access to the tools they need to deliver high quality training. They will support employers to upskill staff and look to remove barriers to the use of technology
  • They will work with their Endorsed Learning Providers to ensure that the sector can access high quality learning and development

Oonagh Smith, CEO at Skills for Care, said they were “delighted” to launch the new strategy and “excited about the impact it will have on people drawing on care and support and working in social care over the next three years.”

She added:

“This new strategy was created in recognition that the way social care is delivered in England is changing so it won’t be a static strategy but will evolve based on feedback and changes in social care.

“Skills for Care believes that social care needs to adapt to these changes so that everyone has access to care and support that is focused on their unique needs and aspirations, now, and in the years to come.

“Equally, people who work in social care have to be recognised as carrying out a vital role in society. We want social care to be seen by the public as a professional and skilled career that has real value for people in our communities who draw on services, supported by our committed and skilled workforce.”

Skills for Care’s new three-year strategy can be viewed online.

The strategy can be downloaded in full, and Skills for Care are also encouraging people to provide their feedback, with survey responses used to inform the next stage of their strategy delivery.

Further support and training for social care

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider.

They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and other special focus topics.

Their diverse portfolio includes training awards designed for health and social organisations, such as Infection Control and PreventionSafeguarding AdultsDuty of CareEquality, Diversity and InclusionUnderstanding Mental Health and many others.

First Response Training are a Skills for Care Endorsed Learning Provider for the delivery of classroom, e-learning and webinar training to the social care workforce.

As an Endorsed Provider, FRT have also recently been awarded grant funding to provide free Covid-19 Essential Training for adult social care workers, including Rapid Induction training for new starters.

A trainer from FRT explains:

“We are very proud to be a Skills for Care Endorsed Learning Provider and to work with them to provide essential training for workers in the social care sector.

“This new strategy is a really positive step in ensuring that the social care sector can continually meet every individual’s care and support needs safely, compassionately and with dignity while also looking after the health and wellbeing of staff.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.

Skills for Care offers guidance on vaccination for care workers

Skills for Care is providing resources to help employers in the care sector to engage with their workers and provide guidance about wellbeing and Covid-19 vaccinations.

It comes as the government announced that they are planning to bring forward regulations that will make Covid-19 vaccination a condition of employment for those working in CQC-regulated care homes

The national workforce development charity says they understand that this policy will present a variety of challenges for care providers.

Variations in vaccine take-up

Data shows that there have been regional variations in vaccine take up across the care sector and Skills for Care acknowledges that there are many different views and opinions held by individuals working across social care organisations.

It is understood that the new regulations will apply to all individuals working in care homes in England that are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and which provide nursing or personal care. Certain medical exemptions will still apply.

The government are still planning to launch a further public consultation on whether or not to make Covid-19 vaccination a condition of deployment in healthcare and the wider social care sector.

If they come into force, the regulations will mean that care home providers can only deploy staff who have received two doses of a Covid-19 vaccination.

If the proposed regulations are approved by Parliament, there will be a minimum of a 16-week grace period before they come into force to provide care workers who have not yet been vaccinated with the opportunity to take up the vaccine.

Guidance for the care sector

During this challenging time, Skills for Care has grouped together vaccination guidance and advice from a number of sources to help aid employers in the care sector.

Care workers have taken risks during the pandemicTheir locality teams are also available to offer workplace support for local authorities and employers.

It is important to remember that the regulations will remain under review to ensure that they continue to reflect the latest clinical guidance.

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and other special focus topics.

Their diverse portfolio includes training awards designed for health and social organisations, such as Infection Control and PreventionSafeguarding AdultsDuty of Care, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Understanding Mental Health and many others.

They also offer a portfolio of e-learning training courses, including COVID-19 Infection prevention, identification and control.

A trainer from FRT explains:

“This is a difficult issue for both care workers and employers. On the one hand, it is vitally important that vulnerable care home residents are kept safe and that they can be provided with high quality, compassionate and person centred care from the right people at the right time, without being placed at risk.

“On the other hand, vaccination is a personal choice and there are many reasons why someone may choose not to take up the vaccine or may be hesitant. The best that any organisation and any worker can do is to ensure they are properly informed, from credible, reliable sources, about the virus and vaccinations and that they are up to date with all key guidance and advice.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.

New Skills for Care partnership to support managers

Skills for Care has announced that it has partnered with Quality Compliance Systems (QCS) to better support managers in adult social care.

The two organisations have teamed up to better support managers to develop best practice and knowledge, remain up to date with sector developments and share ideas with their peers.

QCS are a major provider of content, guidance and support for the health and care sector.

Any new care provider which joins them will now be offered Skills for Care’s registered manager membership as part of the new package of support offered by the two organisations.

Skills for Care’s Director of Engagement, Georgina Turner, described this offering as “an exciting step in the new partnership agreement, which formally recognises the high regard in which registered managers are held.”

She added that the partnership “acknowledges the incredible breadth of skill and resourcefulness that they bring to our diverse sector. We look forward to working with QCS to ensure registered managers and their staff have access to an even greater suite of resources.”

Meanwhile, the Director of Sales and Marketing at QCS, Simon Bunegar, said they were “delighted to have formed a collaborative alliance with Skills for Care.”

He said that “the close relationship that both organisations have formed with care providers will mean that, collectively, we can better understand and respond to the myriad of challenges that frontline leaders face. This itself, is both a significant and transformative step forward.”

The independent charity, Skills for Care, is a delivery partner for the Department for Health and Social Care and supports employers to develop best practice in the adult social care industry.

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and more.

Their health and social care range includes Moving and Assisting, Person Centred Care, Duty of Care, Safeguarding Adults and many more.

They are endorsed by Skills for Care for their classroom, webinar and e-learning training provision for adult social care organisations.

A trainer from FRT says: “Registered managers in adult social care need help, support and guidance, especially after a particularly tough year with the Covid-19 pandemic and its devastating effects across social care.

“It’s great that Skills for Care is partnering with quality organisations to strengthen the support it can offer to managers in the sector.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.

Skills for Care renews and expands its endorsement of First Response Training

National workplace training provider, First Response Training (FRT), has had its endorsement by Skills for Care renewed and expanded to also cover its e-learning and webinar training programmes.

The independent charity, Skills for Care, is a delivery partner for the Department for Health and Social Care and supports employers to develop best practice in the adult social care industry. Learning providers undergo a rigorous endorsement process to become recognised for their health and social care training programmes and feature on Skills for Care’s exclusive endorsed provider directory.

The stamp of approval – which means that FRT is recognised as one of the leading adult social care learning and development providers in the country – is renewed annually, with providers required to provide additional information and evidence to show how they have progressed against the original endorsement standards in order to retain the badge.

The renewal process has seen FRT become recognised for it’s online learning programmes in addition to its face-to-face, classroom-based training solutions.

FRT therefore remain listed on the Skills for Care site, as one of their recommended, high quality training providers, but now endorsed for their classroom, webinar and e-learning course provision.

The provider has been delivering e-learning and webinar training for a number of years but has significantly expanded and enhanced its online offering over the last 12 months, particularly in light of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK and the limitations this has placed on face-to-face training opportunities. They now have an extensive catalogue of online health and social care training programmes, developed to meet the same standards as their classroom courses and with interactivity, flexibility and accessibility at the forefront of the design process.

Skills for Care states that “to become endorsed [a provider] must be able to clearly evidence that the training delivered makes a significant difference, not only to the learner but also to the person accessing care and support.”

Ryan Davis, Client Services Director at FRT, explained:

“We were impressed by the fact that the renewal process remained as thorough as the original endorsement process and appreciated that it enabled us to reflect on how we are continually building on and refining our services to meet the needs of our clients.

“The last year has been incredibly challenging for everyone, and the renewal process enabled us to take stock of the changes and adjustments we have made to ensure our clients could maintain high quality training programmes and continue to robustly support their workers and the people using their services through what has been a very difficult and scary time for the sector.

“I am proud that we have been able to retain our endorsement badge against this backdrop, and that we are now also recognised for our health and social care e-learning and webinar training services, which have proved invaluable to care providers over the last 12 months or more. It demonstrates our refusal to become complacent and that we have, as ever, continued striving for excellence.”

Learning and development is a crucial part of working in the social care sector. Those who have the right skills, provided through high quality training, deliver the best quality of care.

There's been an increase in domiciliary care jobsFRT support those working in adult social care by providing valuable training for the start of careers through to leadership positions and special focus training. They deliver over 4000 social care training courses a year.

Their health and social care course range is meticulously mapped to relevant standards, such as National Occupational Standards, CQC and Care Certificate standards and Skills for Health Core Skills Training Framework (CSTF) outcomes. All courses are underpinned with the values of person-centred care, dignity and compassion and support care workers to deliver high quality care that leads to improved outcomes for the people they support.

Managing Director at FRT, Amy Ridge, added:

“We are thrilled to maintain our Skills for Care endorsement for our classroom-based training, and are incredibly proud that FRT is now also endorsed for its e-learning and webinar training solutions. This demonstrates to care providers that, however they access training from us, they can be assured that it is of the highest quality and will make a meaningful difference to their staff and the people receiving their care and support.

“We are committed to monitoring and improving the long-term impact of our training and we collaborate with our clients to ensure that learning is embedded within their organisations.

“Everything we do – including over the last year – is ultimately driving towards our central vision of creating safer working environments with people who care. The renewal and expansion of our endorsement with Skills for Care serves to highlight our core values as an organisation.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300, or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.

Skills for Care helps develop new leading centre for social care

Skills for Care have announced that they will be partnering with the University of Birmingham to develop a new centre for adult social care.

The aim of the new IMPACT (Improving Adult Care Together) centre, which will be the first of its kind in the UK, is to put evidence into practice in order to promote and maintain people’s independence and wellbeing.

The centre will receive £15 million of funding over the next 6 years from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), part of UK Research and Innovation, and the Health Foundation.

Skills for Care and the University of Birmingham join a broader consortium of key stakeholders from across all four nations of the UK in order to develop the new IMPACT centre which will focus on:

  • Leading the way in helping people working in adult social care, carers, and the people they support to make better use of high-quality, practice-based evidence to support innovation in adult social care
  • Building capacity and skills within the adult social care workforce
  • Developing sustainable and productive relationships between all of those working across adult social care
  • Improving our understanding of what helps or hinders when putting evidence into practice

Skills for Care will be part of the leadership team for the new centre and will work with a wide range of academic, policy and practice partners as well as people who have lived experience of using social care services in order to help develop and lead a programme of innovation and improvement across the sector.

Care workers are key workersThe IMPACT centre will benefit from good practice examples and robust evidence from several different sources across the UK, including unpaid carers, adult social care workers and providers, experts in mobilisation and implementation of evidence, commissioners and policy experts and academic teams.

The IMPACT team will be responsible for agreeing priorities and designing, establishing, delivering and evaluating the Centre’s work programme, which is designed to lead to sustainable change in the way evidence is used within the sector.

Jon Glasby, Professor of Health and Social Care at the University of Birmingham, appointed as IMPACT’s Director, said:

“Adult social care touches people’s lives in such important and intimate ways, and it’s crucial that it’s based on the best possible evidence of what works.

“Good care isn’t just about services; it’s about having a life – and the ESRC and the Health Foundation are providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make a real difference.”

Meanwhile, the Programme Head for Workforce Innovation at Skills for Care, Jim Thomas, commented:

“Skills for Care is proud to be part of the sector-led partnership that created the IMPACT centre announced today.

“This centre is the first of its kind committed to putting evidence into practice to promote and maintain people’s independence and wellbeing.

“As part of the impact’s leadership team, we will be working closely to support employees to use the impact centres to work to improve workforce development opportunities. We will work closely with our partners in Skills for Care and Development to embed learning across the UK.”

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and more.

Their health and social care range includes Moving and Assisting, Person Centred Care, Dignity in Care, Duty of Care, Safeguarding Adults and many more.

A trainer from FRT says: “It’s fantastic that this new centre is in development which will help care workers and providers to learn from good practice and put evidence-based research into practice to help improve outcomes for people using services.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.

Skills for Care investigates key issues affecting BAME workers

A recent survey from Skills for Care has found that adult social care workers from black, Aisan and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds face significant challenges with racism, progression, representation and health.

People from BAME backgrounds account for 1 in 5 of the adult social care workforce in England, but despite playing a crucial role in the care and support of people in our communities, they often encounter racism, discrimination and barriers to progression in the workplace.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also served to highlight and exacerbate existing inequalities within the workforce and wider society, and the survey aimed to capture how it has impacted on BAME workers in adult social care.

People from BAME backgrounds – whether providing or receiving care – have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. They are more likely to contract Covid-19, are more likely to die as a result, and those in the workforce are more likely to report a lack of access to PPE and unfair treatment.

Skills for Care wanted to clarify the key issues and concerns affecting the sector, so they surveyed BAME leaders and managers across the adult social care workforce about the challenges they faced as a result of the pandemic.

Over 500 social care workers responded, and Skills for Care have revealed that these respondents spoke up about racism, inequality, progression, representation and health.

Three main challenges

Researchers found that 3 main themes came up when asking about the top challenges facing BAME staff in adult social care: racism; progression and representation, and; health issues.

Respondents cited institutional and systemic racism from and within organisations, management and peers and service users as a major challenge.

Workers from BAME backgrounds often felt that they did not have a voice within the organisations they worked for, and they frequently experienced discrimination and inequalities.

BAME staff also reported barriers that prevented them from progressing in the adult social care workforce, particularly into leadership and management positions. They experienced a lack of training and development opportunities and found that people from BAME backgrounds were not represented at senior levels.

There were also anxieties about the increased risks for BAME staff in relation to Covid-19, with respondents often reporting that they did not feel sufficiently protected at work.

Experiences of racism and anxiety about Covid-19 had also contributed to mental health concerns for workers from BAME backgrounds.

Respondents also cited issues regarding pay gaps, lack of confidence, lack of understanding and support and challenges around acceptance, recognition, respect and being valued.

Supporting BAME workers

Skills for Care asked respondents what they could do to better support adult social care workers from BAME backgrounds, and were told they needed to provide more training.

Covid is magnifying inequalitiesThis ranged from training for managers on the health risks posed by Covid-19 to training for BAME workers in topics such as leadership, resilience, assertiveness and dealing with racism, and training for all workers across social care on subjects such as cultural awareness, diversity unconscious bias and practising anti-racism.

Respondents also wanted greater inclusion; they asked Skills for Care to collaborate more with BAME communities in designing their approach, and to make their resources more accessible.

They also said that people from BAME backgrounds could be given a stronger voice at Skills for Care, with greater representation and more opportunities for discussion and engagement.

In terms of wider support to help them progress, respondents said that steps such as mentoring schemes, networking programmes and greater support for their health and wellbeing would help them reach their potential.

Promoting equality

They survey responses also showed that people wanted Skills for Care to undertake an advocacy role, promoting equality and fair pay across the sector.

Skills for Care also asked respondents about relevant topics they could cover in future webinars about inequalities within the BAME workforce.

Their areas of interest included racism, particularly institutional and systemic racism and how to overcome it, organisational policy and practice, equality and inequality, including pay and discrimination, progression and representation, and Black Lives Matter.

Taking action

Skills for Care are now investigating some of the areas of support raised in the survey.

They are organising a series of webinars starting this month to explore some of the issues raised by respondents and are developing a suite of guidance based on the three main challenges identified in the survey.

They’ve also highlighted some of their current resources, such as ‘Confident with difference’, which, they say will “allow you and your team to consider how well you currently embrace diversity and improvements that could be made.”

The workforce development charity will also work with a BAME focus group of 20 individuals to produce guidance and support for career progression.

They are also “exploring how we can embed what we learned across the organisation so that all aspects of our offer include and reflect the BAME community and diverse workforce. We will continue to engage with the sector to better understand support needs and this will be an ongoing dialogue.”

They’ve created a dedicated page on their website to provide a platform for voices from the diverse social care workforce and will continue to commission blogs and articles from BAME authors.

Training in equality, diversity and inclusion

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading, national training provider. They deliver over 7,000 courses each year in the fields of health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care and more.

Their health and social care range includes Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

A trainer from FRT says: “It is important for all organisations and businesses across all sectors to explore what they can do to challenge and remove inequalities and to promote equality, inclusion and diversity.

“We provide training in Equality and Diversity, and undergo it ourselves. We work to ensure that training is inclusive, representative and accessible to all.

“It’s great to see that Skills for Care have taken the time to do this research and that they are putting their findings into action.”

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to info@firstresponsetraining.com.

Adult social care workforce grows by 9%, new report shows

A new report from Skills for Care has shown that the number of adult social care jobs in England has increased by 9% since 2013.

The adult social care workforce has grown again this yearThe annual ‘Size and structure of the adult social care workforce in England’ report found that there were 130,000 (or 9%) more jobs in the sector in the year 2019-20 compared with 2012-13.

This means that there are now 1.65 million adult social care jobs.

The report also contains projections that state that, if the adult social care workforce expands proportionally to the number of people aged 65 or over living England, there will need to be 2.17 million jobs within the sector by 2035 in order to meet demand – an increase of 520,000.

Although the number of adult social care jobs continues to increase year upon year in England, the rate at which they are increasing has actually slowed.

The report shows that the workforce grew by around 15,000 jobs per year between 2014-15 and 2019-20, compared to an average increase of 26,000 jobs per year between 2012-13 and 2014-15.

Shift in adult social care employment

The type of jobs within the sector has also shifted.

The report shows that the number of local authority jobs has fallen by 25%, or 37,000 jobs, as part of a longer-term shift towards independent sector jobs, which increased by 11% or 130,000 jobs over the same period.

There's been an increase in domiciliary care jobsSince 2013, jobs within domiciliary care services have also increased at a faster rate – growing by 15% or 95,000 jobs – than those within residential services, which only grew by 4% or 25,000 jobs.

The number of registered nurse jobs within the sector has significantly declined since 2013, falling by 30% or 15,500.

The report utilises data from Skills for Care’s Adult Social Care Workforce Data Set (ASC-WDS), which is funded by the Department of Health and Social Care and includes data provided by 20,000 frontline employers in the sector.

The data for this year’s report was collected prior to the height of the Covid-19 pandemic in England. Skills for Care have advised that it therefore does not reflect how the pandemic has impacted the adult social care workforce.

Shortfall in the social care sector

The report indicates a shortfall between the number of people working in the sector and the total number of jobs available.

Although the number of people employed in adult social care also increased, the report shows the workforce only numbers 1.52 million people despite there being 130,000 additional jobs available.

The report also estimates:

  • There were 18,200 organisations involved in providing or organising adult social care in England
  • Around 38,000 establishments provided or organised adult social care services
  • There were 70,000 recipients of direct payments employing their own care and support staff

The CEO of Skills for Care, Oonagh Smyth, commented:

“We are grateful to all the employers who have contributed their data because as we start to think about what the adult social care sector will look like after the pandemic it is vital we do that based on the gold standard data in this report.”

She added that the report served as a “reminder” for all “of the vital role our growing workforce will play in any future reform of our sector and their skills, knowledge and commitment to person centred care will support people to live the lives they want to.”

The full report is available to download online.

Care workers are key workers

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading national provider of high-quality training services. They deliver health and safety, first aid, fire safety, food hygiene, manual handling, health and social care, mental health and other special focus courses. They can offer training via face-to-face, classroom style learning, e-learning, webinar sessions or distance learning manuals and can also offer public courses at their venues across the UK.

Care workers are key workersTheir extensive health and social care range is mapped to national occupational standards, the Care Certificate, the Skills for Health Core Skills Framework and relevant legislation and further guidance.

All courses are also based on the values of person centred care.

A health and social care trainer for FRT says: “If this pandemic has taught us anything, it is that health and social care workers are key workers; they provide a valuable service in this country and are a dedicated, passionate bunch.

“As a workforce, they need continued support and training to be able to continue to fulfil their challenging but rewarding roles.”

For more information about any of the training courses that FRT can offer, please contact freephone 0800 310 2300 or info@firstresponsetraining.com.