5th April 2023
Engaging and training our young people the right way has never been so important in Adult Social Care
Mike Laukkanen – Business Development Lead, South Devon College
South Devon College was delighted to welcome adult social care providers and key-note speakers to their Supporting Adult Social Care event in March. The aim was to establish the key needs for the training and development of the future workforce in the sector.
Industry experts from a range of social care providers, Torbay Council and Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, shared their thoughts on key areas of development and industry challenges with employers being able to give feedback through round table discussion.
Staff from the South Devon College Health and Adult Social Care team also joined and led these discussions, giving employers the opportunity to help shape the sustainability of our Adult Social Care curriculum delivery to support future workforce planning.
The evening kicked-off with keynote speaker Adam Russell, Strategic Partnership Manager for Adult Social Care at Torbay Council, discussing some of the challenges and complexities that currently exist within the social care industry and the need to engage and train our young people in the right way.
“The market is changing at a rate that is almost unrecognisable in the last three decades”, Adam explained. “In terms of technology, expectations, complexity, and the kinds of individuals we are now expected to find social care solutions for. The other thing that’s different, is I’ve never experienced a time where finances are so incredibly pressured. What things can we sacrifice whilst delivering the care people need.
“These financial pressures pose more questions when it comes to the workforce. How do we engage a willing workforce and how do we keep them? One way is to get people when they are young. I’m living proof having been in this sector for 35 years that it works, I’m still engaged and wanting to fix the world. But also, how do we make sure that as employers that we’re asking organisations like South Devon College to train people the right way so that we have the skills we need from the start.
“Obviously, money is important to people. But what’s also important is what opportunities there are for development, progression and a clear career pathway. Working collaboratively with the College to address the skills that are needed for all that is great value added to working in this sector.”
Delegates were then asked over the course of round table discussion to provide feedback on a range of issues and ways in which South Devon College can support. These included how we engage, recruit and retain young talent in adult social care, what skills-based training we can provide, what are the current training opportunities within their organisations and what are their biggest staff training concerns and challenges and how we, as training providers, can support?
Key themes included the need to engage with young carers at an earlier age, from Primary School up, promoting social care as a rewarding and attractive career. Working with South Devon College to create career pathways with progression routes from entry level through to higher education and leadership roles. And, working more collaboratively with the NHS, social care providers and training providers.
Emily Brookman, part of the Quality Assurance and Improvement Team and QAIT Nurse with the Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust explained how it has never been so important to provide an integrated collaborative approach to training in the adult social care sector:
“The backfill cost of releasing staff for training is one of our biggest challenges facing adult social care providers now”, Emily explained.
“Face to face training delivery models is a real challenge. We need to work with the College to provide a more hybrid/online model which provides sustainability across the sector and gives all our carers the opportunity to gain valuable work-based training. We can only do this through collaboration and continuity of training delivery”, Emily added.
To conclude, what was a wonderful evening, Curriculum Head of Health and Adult Social Care for South Devon College, Lucy Parkin added:
“It was great to have so many in attendance and shows a real commitment from local providers to help develop and support the growth of our future talent and workforce in adult social care.”
“As a curriculum area we are so pleased to be able to welcome you to the college to provide industry insight and suggestions that will help us shape our curriculum strategy and development. Conversations were flowing with many valuable points raised. I look forward to continuing these conversations moving forwards.”
Further Employer Liaison events are planned in Engineering, Law, Business and Professional and Sport and Fitness and more. Visit southdevon.ac.uk/events to register your interest.