Page 14 - TalkingCareOnline_Issue6
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Working in Adult Social Care
is much more than just a job it’s a career with a difference...
The adult social care sector
in England had an estimated 21,200 organisations, 41,000 care providing locations and 1.6 million jobs.
The adult social care workforce is growing. Across England it has increased by 21% since
2009, and in the South East region, by 4% since 2012.
The estimated number of adult social care jobs in the Oxfordshire area was 16,500 including 1,300 managerial roles, 900 regulated professionals, 12,000 direct care (including 8,900 care workers), and 2,200 other­non­care proving roles.
In Oxfordshire there were an estimated 16,500 jobs in adult social care split between local authorities (5%), independent sector providers (87%) and jobs for direct payment recipients (9%).
Ref: Extracts from a summary of the adult social care sector and workforce in Oxfordshire 2017/18
The Oxfordshire Association of Care Providers (OACP) exhibits at careers events and job fairs for two reasons; firstly, to raise awareness of our care provider members, their incredible work and numerous career/job opportunities, and secondly, to introduce working in social care as a career with long­term prospects. What job could be better than making a real difference to someone else’s life every day ­ whilst making a financial difference to yourself and your family’s security. It could be argued that securing a job, in any employment sector brings financial security, prospects and rewards. Whilst this can be true. Some jobs, just can’t give you that extra special rewarding and heart warming feeling you take away with you as you go home...thinking, “today I made someone’s life better, I made a difference and I feel good about it”. Surely, a career in social care is a no brainer, isn’t it?
It’s a privilege to meet and chat with such a diverse and fascinating cross­section of the population in Oxfordshire at job and careers events. People of varying ages, backgrounds, and ethnicity. Some walk quickly past the stand, perhaps misunderstanding what’s on offer, some stop, browse and ask questions, others, totally understand what’s on offer and want to learn more. However, of the many people we speak with, most don’t seem to have a clear picture of social care – what it is or what it does. Sadly, their knowledge of the social care career pathway, jobs, and job roles is poor.
When asked directly what they think social care is all about, they often look blank. Some will answer ­ “it’s about social work e.g. being a social worker, isn’t it” or “I know it’s got something to do with the NHS” or “it’s all about giving personal care, washing and dressing people – I think?”.
Some people who attend these events, often come with preconceived views about social care, some have their minds set ­ saying it’s not the career for them. When asked why? – their views are based on hearsay, held misconceptions and negative content reporting in the media.
Interestingly, people with such preconceived ideas about working in social care, tend to change their views as we chat to them. Especially when they hear about the many job roles on offer, flexible working options, rising hourly pay rates and career progression. We see their previously ‘held on to’ beliefs drift
away. Their demeanour changes and a sudden realisation comes over them – that a career in social care might just be the right fit for them! Social Care’s very own glass slipper moment!
We meet the most exceptional people, with direct experience of social care. For instance, they may have a family member – being supported in their own home or in a residential care home or receiving specialist ‘one to one’ care at home or in assisted living.
When chatting, it becomes clear, that in some cases, they have had to overcome adversity, financial hardship and accept major change to decide the best ‘care’ outcome for their family or loved ones. Most are willing to share and talk about their experiences, shyly at first, but then in more depth. Some go on to explain why they are attending the job fair – often it’s because they want to give something back and would like to work in social care to make a difference to others. These individuals are brave, unassuming with a great capacity for kindness, empathy, and love. Likewise, the young people we have met at careers evenings and events are awe inspiring, often older than their years, they too talk about their experiences with their grandparents or siblings with great pride and passion, they too want to give something back and are keen to learn how ‘they can find the right pathway to work in social care’. It’s such a privilege to meet them all!
“Creating an environment where people can learn about working in adult social care...”
Dispelling the myths that surround working in the adult social care sector is hugely important. Misunderstanding can cause some people to completely dismiss a whole career sector without looking into what it has to offer.
A clear understanding of the job itself prior to employment is crucial. Some new employees only realise what the job entails when they begin their training, this can cause frustration, on their part and on the part of the employer.
As a way of changing perceptions OACP piloted a ‘Care Taster Session’ with Soha Housing. The article opposite describes the training and the outcomes.>

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