Innovative graduate recruitment vital to future social care workforce

The chief of HR at a social care charity has voiced serious concerns about the lack of people choosing to work in the sector now, which could cause major staffing problems in 20 years’ time.

Moira Brown, HR director at Care South, which provides residential and domiciliary support in the South West, said charities and local authority care services need to become more “innovative” in the way they advertise jobs to make them appeal to graduates, as currently not enough individuals are entering into the sector.

Currently, the workforce for social care in the UK stands at 1.3 million, but this figure is predicted to nearly double by 2028 to 2.5 million, according to government statistics.

Brown told Personnel Today: “I don’t think graduates see social care as a career opportunity. We’ve also got an ageing population, so where is that workforce going to come from? It’s not so much a skills shortage, as a people shortage. Where are we going to get the social care workforce from?”

She added that some of the 20 care homes that are part of Care South employ people past retirement age if they are medically suitable. But this was not an answer to the lack of individuals entering the sector to work.

Brown confirmed she is “considering” a graduate scheme to help attract people entering the job market for the first time into the social care sector.

“We need to be innovative in recruiting more people. I wouldn’t say ‘no’ to a graduate scheme, it is something I am considering bringing in. But the question is how we would mould it so that graduates and the employer could get something out of it.”

The forthcoming Social Care Skills Academy, due to be set up this September working closely with the newly established Commission for Employment and Skills, will be looking at ways to make the social care sector more appealing to graduates, Brown said.

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