The Director of Bluebird Care Shropshire, based in Shrewsbury, is warning of an imminent ‘care crisis’ and pledges to recruit up to 100 new care staff over the next 12 months to help.
Such is the shortage of carers across the country, who are potentially put off a career in care due to “stigmas around the type of work involved and historically poor levels of pay”, that Ian Barnes, Director of the company, says something “urgently” has to be done to attract people to the sector.
“As a company, we believe we are offering the best recruitment package in the county, and we are doing this because people just aren’t being valued and paid enough to consider a career in care and we want to change that locally,” said Mr Barnes.
“There is a genuine shortage of care workers for elderly people who need help, but can’t access it, and there is a huge and growing issue with bed blocking where people have to stay in hospital longer than necessary as there aren’t enough people to help them recover at home,” he said.
“It worries me that some young people would prefer more low-skilled jobs in pubs, restaurants or shops, which often only pay minimum wage, when we are here, offering jobs county-wide in really varied and fulfilling roles with the very real potential for career progression. We have increased our rates of pay twice in the last 12 months and offer a fantastic salary package – over £20k a year for full time workers and up to 39% higher than the minimum wage, with guaranteed full or part-time hours, flexible to suit people’s circumstances.
“We also 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 also offer long service awards for anyone who works with us for 12 months or more in the shape of a £150 treat of their choice.
“In 2019 we are hoping to recruit around 10 new carers a month or 100 across the year and 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. But because of all the stigmas around care work, the reality is we may only manage to recruit half this – but that is goal!
Ceri Eades, Human Resources Manager at the company, which was recently rated outstanding by the CQC for caring, has boosted the recruitment package offered by the company.
“To try and remove any obstacles we can, such as the worry of not getting paid for a month when you switch or start a new job, we now pay the first week’s training and shadowing in full and straight away so that people don’t have the worry of a break in income. There is no unpaid e-Learning to learn the ropes with us, it’s thorough and paid for and leads to extra and ongoing qualifications and training if people want – care work with us is a career if someone wants to make it so and we encourage that.