A Mansfield Woodhouse provider of home care to elderly and vulnerable people has joined forces with West Nottinghamshire College in a bid to drive-up standards throughout the industry.
Respectful Care – which provides personalised care, support and companionship services to clients across Mansfield, Ashfield and surrounding areas – has formed a training partnership with the college that will see all its support and care workers undertake an apprenticeship to ensure they are trained to offer the best possible service.
The two organisations are also developing a customised entry-level ‘access to care’ course for those seeking to re-train for a career in domiciliary care, as well as helping the unemployed to enter the industry through pre-employment training in conjunction with Jobcentre Plus.
It comes after the company’s co-founders, managing directors Scott Marsh and Mark Docherty, asked the college to create a comprehensive training package to upskill its workforce while also offering its staff greater career opportunities.
The business partners, who formed the company in 2013, want to see improvements to the quality of care across the entire sector – and say this starts with giving staff the skills and knowledge to carry out the role effectively.
The company has introduced a stringent policy of enrolling all its care workers on a health and social care apprenticeship – combining both on-and-off the job training, with one-to-one support from a college assessor – if they have worked in the industry for less than a year.
It recently recruited 13 additional support and care workers, who have all begun the training. Upon completion, the apprentices achieve a Level 2 or Level 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care – which takes 12 and 24 months to complete respectively – demonstrating competence in the job role.
Mr Marsh, of Sutton-in-Ashfield, and Mr Docherty, of Mansfield, established Respectful Care in response to the increased demand for in-home support brought about by an ageing population coupled with shrinking adult social care budgets.
After quitting his job as a regional advertising manager, Mr Marsh, 33, joined former financial consultant Mr Docherty, 39, in getting the new venture off the ground, following 18 months researching the sector – speaking to health and social care professionals, clients and commissioning organisations such as councils and the NHS.
“The care sector doesn’t always have the most positive of reputations and, sadly, not all providers ensure their staff are adequately trained, which can result in poor standards of care,” said Mr Marsh.
“While this is not reflective of the whole industry – which has many thousands of unsung heroes doing an amazing job each and every day – the research told us that it needed to become more professional, with a greater emphasis on client needs and staff appreciation.”
Mr Marsh also had a very personal motivation for wanting to help raise standards of care, after witnessing his grandmother being spoken to in what he describes as a “disrespectful and inappropriate manner” by a community care worker conducting a home visit.
It was this episode that inspired the name ‘Respectful Care’ and, he insisted, the company’s entire ethos.
The fledgling business spent its first three months operating from the dining room of Mr Docherty’s home before officially launching in September 2013 from premises at Park Road Business Place, Mansfield Woodhouse.
Care manager Lisa Nussey became its first member of staff later that month – bringing 26 years’ industry experience with her – and upon successfully registering with regulator the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in November, it began taking on clients.
From employing eight care workers by the end of that year, the rapidly-expanding company now has 42 – providing a combined 1,000 hours of care to more than 80 clients each week, and making more than 1,300 individual house calls between them.
Such has been the firm’s growth that in March 2014 it moved to larger offices within the same business premises.
Mr Docherty said: “Our partnership with West Nottinghamshire College is providing high-quality training and employment opportunities to local people who want to make a real difference in their communities. It ensures all our staff are trained to the correct industry standards to support clients with a wide range of needs, enabling them to live safely and independently in their own homes.
“We believe in treating all clients as individuals and giving them the time, care and respect they deserve. By working with the college and utilising its health and social care expertise, we’re playing our part in driving-up standards in this vital industry, which so many people rely on.”
Emma Brown, the college’s employer engagement lead for health, said: “We’re delighted to support Respectful Care’s ambition to raise standards of care throughout the industry while enabling staff to feel valued within their job role.
“From our very first discussions with Scott and Mark, it was absolutely clear that quality is at the heart of everything they do. They are passionate about equipping their staff with the training to provide clients with the best possible care and I look forward to our partnership going from strength to strength.”