WESTMINSTER HEALTH FORUM: Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen calls for investment in social care workforce

Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen

Skills for Care CEO Sharon Allen has called for greater investment in the social care workforce in order to overcome the recruitment and retention challenges facing the sector.

Speaking during the Westminster Health Forum yesterday, Sharon said she was “confident” that workforce issues would be at the heart of the government’s Social Care Green Paper.

“Without a skilled, knowledgeable, well-led and valued workforce all our aspirations to provide person centred care will come to nought,” Sharon noted.

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The Skills for Care boss said 650,000 additional jobs would be required in the sector by 2035, with current vacancies standing at 110,000.

She highlighted the popular misconception of the sector’s workforce as being low skilled as a major barrier to recruitment.

“We need to attract the people with the right values who will come in and stay,” Sharon said.

She added that the public had to be made aware of the “vast array of jobs and opportunities” the sector offered.

The Skills for Care CEO said more investment in training and development was needed contrasting the £14 per head allocated to the sector with the £4.6bn funding pool given to the NHS.

“I am arguing for greater parity of investment in our workforce,” she stressed.

As well as greater funding, Sharon said the social care workforce required advice and guidance on what was expected from them.

She observed that care employers had seen a six to one return on investment in training.

Calling for investment in registered managers, Sharon illustrated the registered manager networks Skills for Care had established across the country to provide peer support.

“Investing in our workforce is a way of achieving high quality care and support,” Sharon concluded.

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