A bespoke video is to be created to attract more people into the care sector in Essex.
Essex County Council has admitted of a serious and chronic shortage of care workers – its executive director for adult social care, Nick Presmeg, called for a unified workforce strategy between local authorities and the NHS to steady an “unsustainable” market in a council meeting last year by arguing people can earn more money picking pears than they can can providing domiciliary care.
Now a new video is being produced to attract more people into the care market – which has already seen an upturn in the workforce numbers already as people look for more secure jobs in the face of worsening economic outlook for households.
Moira McGrath, Director of Commissioning, Adult Social Care for Essex County Council, told a People and Families Policy and Scrutiny Committee on May 12: “ There’s been a positive national campaign through Skills for Care which has got some really nice videos which which really set out the role of carers now.
The feedback we’ve had is that because it doesn’t really feature Essex people and there’s a sort of ethos and culture in Essex what we’re seeking to do is develop our own video that actually has real examples of real people working in different environments in Essex so it feels more authentic to them.
“We know 80 per cent of our care workforce live in Essex so actually we want to be attracting Essex people into Essex jobs. To do that we need something that that speaks to them.”
Essex County Council has also been running a social media campaign with the aim to direct people into national skills and a a health and social care academy is being developed in Essex to help people with the skills to develop their careers.
Ms McGrath added: “We know from what carers have told us that the key things that that they want that attract them and keep them in Essex are seeing some career progression, seeing ongoing training developed so they feel that they’re valued in the role.
Clearly pay is a factor so this year we have increased our rates to care providers which enables them to pay more money..
At a Essex County Council meeting last year Mr Presmeg said: “The care market is very stressed and very stretched – you can earn more money picking pears than you can providing domiciliary care.
“If you work 40 hours a week you will earn £17,000 and you will have travel costs. That is not sustainable.
“In terms of the skill base in the care market that is much misunderstood. Our residential and domiciliary care workers are often highly skilled and highly trained.”
An Essex County Council spokesperson said: “Essex County Council is keen to promote adult social care as a great job and to increase the numbers of local people working in care. We are working with care providers to look together at how we attract more staff.
“This includes developing a video to show the variety of roles and what the work feels like for adults and carers, which could be used on social media. Discussions on design and content of this video are taking place and at this stage no cost has been established.’’