Ian Barnes, Director of award-winning Bluebird Care Shropshire, based in Shrewsbury, is trying to attract people to the care sector to enable more elderly people to access the care they need to help them remain living more independently in their own homes and prevent hospital bed blocking.
His company has increased pay rates by 7% for those under 25, while those over 25 with care experience will receive a 10% pay rise. From now on, carers under 25 will earn £8.50 an hour.
Ian said: “We can guarantee 40 plus hours over 7 days a week so a young person could earn £1,500 in their hand every month, after tax, by starting a career in care work. Senior care workers can earn more than that. Working a 40 hour week their salary will be over £20,000 pa. Not only that, the fuel mileage allowance has gone up 25% to 30p per mile.
“It’s a fantastic salary package and we want to attract people to this sector, which offers varied and really rewarding work. Full or part-time the hours are flexible to suit people’s circumstances. But it’s not seen a good job because people think its low paid, the hours are unsocial and that it’s difficult to work with people.
“We offer thorough training with on-going support and encourage qualifications and further training. We have put a robust career pathway in place and have seen carers climb the ranks from starting with us with no experience to becoming senior supervisors and managers. We’ve recently introduced long service awards and anyone who works with us for 12 months or more will receive a £150 treat of their choice – to the theatre or away for a weekend etc. And then there’s Perk Box!, which offers employees discounts at supermarkets, restaurants and shops, free mobile insurance and even free meditation.
“We are doing all this because there really is a disaster waiting to happen if we don’t get more people into the Care Sector. There is a genuine shortage of care workers for elderly people who need help, but can’t access it, and there is huge and growing issue with bed blocking where people have to stay in hospital longer as there is no one to help them recover at home.
“Nationally, people just aren’t paying enough to providers like us to allow the salaries of care workers to go up, and thereby attract people to the industry. There is already a shortage and that is going to drive charges up and put care out of reach for those that need it most. So people need to realise they have pay more for care to attract people into the sector- or hospital overcrowding and shortages will never be resolved.”