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How can we encourage more young people to embark on a career in social care?

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How can we encourage more young people to embark on a career in social care?

While the social care industry employs 1.45m people, there are currently 110,000 vacancies within social care — a number expected to rise by 650,000 by 2035 due to a long living and ageing population.

The government have set up the ‘Every Day Is Different’ campaign which targets those aged between 20-39 to enter the world of adult social care and take on a variety of roles. Its main goals include attracting new people with the right values to work in social care, highlighting the range of available job roles and equipping the sector with the right marketing tools to support the campaign financially and technologically.

To tackle the social care skills shortage, it’s important to invest time and money into training the carers of the future. But how can we best market social care to young people?

Target school leavers who want to start earning immediately

While the number of vacancies may seem high, figures from NEET show that 788,000 young people are not in education, employment or training and are disengaged with their learning and development. This means there are plenty of potential social carers available, they are simply disconnected with working or unaware of the opportunities available to them.

To counteract this, we should aim to promote a career in social care as a great opportunity for those looking to earn a salary from a school-leaving age. Since some social care positions are accessible to those without a tertiary qualification, it’s a viable alternative to higher education as many training opportunities are provided on the job and social care offers stable and solid career prospects.

In addition, social care is a career that places great emphasis on soft skills and personal traits rather than academic work as in this field, finding people with the right motivation and principles is more valuable than those with numerical or scientific knowledge — which can be taught on the job. Hiring based on this element has also shown an increase in staff retention according to Duncan Bell, PR manager at Dimensions which has a quarter of its workforce under the age of 25.

Raising awareness of social care as a financially attractive career option for school leavers can increase the amount of interest given to the social care sector from young people. Similarly, it’s useful to market the instantly rewarding and philanthropic elements of this job. For those interested in the sciences, caretaking or nursing, social care can provide a degree-free alternative to working within healthcare – which would otherwise take multiple years and many qualifications to do so.

Offer work-experience and volunteering opportunities

Many young people don’t want to commit to a career they have no experience of, so those in the industry could allow students to gain insight into social care from a young age by providing work experience and volunteering opportunities with activities as simple as engaging in games with elderly residents in nursing homes. These opportunities are highly attractive to students who wish to gain valuable extracurricular experience to add to their CVs. By highlighting the multitude of soft skills volunteering in social care can provide, as well as certificates from CPR training and so forth, young people are likely to feel incentivised to engage with social care.

Work experience placements give students an opportunity to gain practical experience of what the job entails along with a sense of pride and accomplishment from seeing the very real difference they can make in someone’s life from their first day on the placement.

Many millennials look for real value in the careers they choose. Often captioned the “Giving Generation,” 94% of millennials have donated money to charity and more than two-thirds have volunteered their time to non-profit organisations. Given that millennials and Gen Z workers are predicted to make up 59% of the labour workforce by 2020, we’re likely to see many young people attracted to jobs in social care due to its highly rewarding nature. This is also great for employee retention and engagement as employees who feel that their work creates a positive impact are more likely to feel fulfilled, stay longer at the job and promote the company.

Showcase the variety of roles within social care

Working in social care can be extremely flexible and varied. There are opportunities for contract, permanent and temporary work depending on the preferences of the carer.

There are two primary routes within social care including domiciliary and residential work. Work can take place in many locations including a nursing home, in the local community as an activities coordinator, in a hospital or at someone’s home. Many young people are not aware of the possibilities of domiciliary work when they think of a career in social care.

Domiciliary care involves supporting and caring for people in their homes. This is ideal for those who wish to work with the elderly, people with learning disabilities, mental health issues, sensory impairment or physical disabilities. Roles include being a care worker, personal assistant, support worker or shared lives carer. This is particularly attractive as you can build fulfilling one-on-one relationships with those you care for and the role is very flexible.

Residential work involves caring for those with health conditions that make it difficult for them to live independently. Roles within this path include being a care worker, care assistant, support worker or activities worker.

In terms of career advancement, someone working in social care can specialise in caring for those with particular ailments such as diabetes, dementia or visual impairments. With expertise comes a higher status and potential to earn a higher salary. There is also the opportunity to progress into senior leadership and managerial positions with further training.

Raising awareness of social care as a career with many possibilities for horizontal and vertical progression and variety can allow those with all varying interests to engage with it.

Recruit new talent with Charles Hunter Associates

Charles Hunter Associates are specialist recruitment consultants for the social work and social care sectors across the UK — we source bright candidates for a variety of roles at all levels. If you require expert advice on the talent available in your market, get in touch with us to see how we can help you. Similarly, if you’re looking for a role in the world of social care, contact us to see how we can help you land your dream job.