Engage: Campaign to grow social care workforce proving hit with employers – Lyn Romeo

Anyone working in the adult social care sector will appreciate the pressing need to grow the workforce – which is already 1.47 million strong – to ensure it is fit to meet the growing demand for care and support services.

That’s exactly why the Department of Health and Social Care has been running an adult social care recruitment campaign since mid-February, Every Day is Different, and I have been travelling the country – from Birmingham to Manchester and Norwich – to promote it.

The campaign aims to show how rewarding and varied careers in adult social care are and get people thinking about applying for direct care roles such as care or support workers, where demand is strongest. We also want to illustrate the opportunities for progression and development within these jobs. I can personally attest to this as I started my career in adult social care over 40 years ago as a care assistant and now I’m responsible for improving the education, training and practice of all adult social workers – quite the journey.

Importantly, we want to attract applications from people with the right values to work in care, who enjoy the feeling of making a difference to people’s lives. They could come from any background or circumstances, including new recruits and people looking for a career change. I’ve met care workers involved in the campaign who were former security guards, personal trainers, hairdressers and accountants to name a few.

The input and advocacy of the sector has been vital in developing and promoting this campaign. A range of materials, including a toolkit, posters, leaflets and digital assets, have been designed to help employers use the campaign to support their local recruitment marketing and take advantage of the national campaign.

We’ve been working very closely with providers across the country urging them to advertise their vacancies to ensure there is an accessible pool of jobs for those who see the campaign and go on to look for opportunities. They have responded in kind, with an increase of around 23% on the DWP Find a Job site at its peak during the campaign period. This recruitment drive ran until early April of this year, using  a mix of social media, online and local radio advertising, posters and special media events held across England.

This is a hugely valued workforce who often lack the recognition they deserve. At the very least I hope this is dispelled by the fantastic visuals that support this campaign – of current care workers with the people they support each day.

The Minister for Care Caroline Dinenage recently hosted an exhibition in Parliament showcasing portraits of care workers from around the country that were taken as part of the campaign. These images illustrate the compassion and dedication of our care workers, and the bond between them and the people they support. They also depict the breadth of roles within the sector, from working with older people in a care home or within their own home, to supporting younger adults with learning disabilities.

I’ve met some brilliant and passionate care workers and employers around the country through this campaign and with their support I hope we can encourage the next generation of compassionate, caring and dedicated adult social care staff to transform many more thousands of lives.

By Lyn Romeo, Chief Social Worker for Adults at the Department of Health and Social Care.