We are delighted to announce that we have commissioned a three-month feasibility study from Transform Society to test the viability of a bold new talent and leadership development programme for the social care sector.
The Coronavirus pandemic has highlighted to the public the vital role of the social care sector as never before. The need to address the very real challenges of the sector is pressing. The UK’s ageing population means that more and more people are needing care, and a growing number have more complex care needs, but we simply do not have enough trained workers to plug the gap. Over the next ten to fifteen years, that gap is only going to grow.
The recruitment and retention challenges of the social care sector are well-documented and long-standing. Some 1.6 million people are employed in the sector and there are around 120,000+ vacancies (8% of the total workforce) at any one time. The sector also suffers from significant churn, with 440,000 care workers leave their job every year. It is estimated that the staff turnover rate of directly employed staff working in the adult social care sector is over 30%. The Government’s own conservative estimate is that an extra 650,000 will be needed by 2035; that would mean employing over a third more workers than we currently do.
The Foundation considers that much can be learned from the experience of the Transform Society alliance members that, over the past 17 years, have shown that across teaching, social work, policing and prisons, you can successfully change a generation’s view of front facing public sector workers in professions never previously considered by top talent in the past. All five programmes now appear in the Top 40 of the Top 100 Graduate Employers, recruit over 3,000 graduates a year and have become a magnet to our country’s top graduates due to the training, development, support and critically the ‘visions’ of each charity to not only deliver inspirational practitioners today but the leaders of the future tomorrow. Alumni from all these programmes, now totalling over 12,000 collectively, are steadily and impressively moving into leadership positions, whether still in the sector or not (and around 70%+ stay for ever), still caring and driving change towards the vision.
The feasibility study will produce a full evaluation of the sector, providers, current initiatives and government position, scoping interest in the creation of a leadership development programme to address immediate and long-term leadership needs of the social care sector. To inform the study, Transform Society has convened an Advisory Group chaired by Professor David Grayson CBE that brings together a high-profile range of leaders from across the social care sector and beyond.
Our CEO, Jonathan Freeman MBE, said:
“The social care sector urgently needs to attract high-calibre talent and significantly address leadership skills to instil long-term change from within. This requires a bold new initiative to make the social care sector a career of choice for the brightest and best – be that at graduate level or beyond. Increasing funding to support the recruitment of front-line care workers without also addressing structural issues in the sector that feed huge staff turnover is unsustainable.
The approach of Teach First, Frontline and Now Teach (and related schemes) offer powerful examples of game-changing talent recruitment and leadership development campaigns that have transformed vital public services that were not seen as attractive to graduates and career switchers.”
James Darley, Founder and CEO of Transform Society, said:
“Transform Society has been supporting graduate programmes into key areas of the public sector for over 17 years and have seen the immediate and long term impact delivered by the incredible talent recruited over this period, inside and outside of their sectors. Now is the time to see if the Care sector could benefit from a similar programme, and take advantage of a period in time when graduates want to make a difference, and want to help solve complex social issues. We are so thankful to the CareTech Foundation for supporting this feasibility study and can’t wait for the recommendations.”
Professor David Grayson CBE, Chair of the Advisory Group, said:
“There is no substitute for the long-promised, cross-party agreement on long-term funding of Social Care. The sector needs more money. A lot more money. Now. No argument. Only Government can deliver this in co-operation with the other political parties and industry stakeholders.
Better long-term funding should, however, be linked to other elements of a radical change agenda: Care-work is not currently seen as an attractive career option. Yet caring for the elderly, infirm and vulnerable in our society should be one of the most prestigious, honoured and appreciated professions. Care-workers require significant technical skills, compassion, empathy and high Emotional Intelligence to do their jobs well.
We need to capitalise on current investigations into the Care Worker of the Future and how vocational training can be provided effectively, combining on-the-job training and blended-learning, supported by further and higher education.
We also need to expand the talent pool coming into social care. Teaching, policing, even the prison service are now benefitting from graduate recruitment via prestigious programmes modelled on Teach First. Might there be lessons here for care-work too? I believe so and am delighted to be supporting the investigation to find out!”