Since 1991, Audley Group has been a market leader in luxury retirement villages with Audley Villages and Mayfield Villages. As part of their all-encompassing service, residents are able to access their residential adult care services, Audley Care and Mayfield Care which gives residents choice, flexibility and control to live their lives the way they want. 

They employ more than 800 adult care specialists across 13 different sites – with five new sites scheduled to open in 2022. Audley Villages and Mayfield Villages provide an outstanding way of living across their 13 retirement villages, offering luxury hospitality and security. Whilst Audley Care and Mayfield Care offer exceptional, round-the-clock personal care and healthcare to their residents.

Audley Group is investing in its people to strengthen the skills of each employee to perform well in their job via their very own Audley Academy. In 2019, they took their investment in training to the next level, offering adult care apprenticeships and specialised training to their staff by working in partnership with one of the UK’s leading providers of adult care education and training, Connect2Care.

Head of Audley Academy, Ellen Copperthwaite, said: “Across the entire care sector, there’s a shortage of specialised training available with staff retention being a growing concern, with Audley Care and Mayfield Care being no exception to that. So we were excited to work with Connect2Care in our pursuit of a well-trained, confident and competent workforce.”

The problem

Audley Care and Mayfield Care have a large adult care team of 400 specialists. With a big team situated throughout the country, low staff retention and industry demand for specialised training in dementia, they wanted to provide all of their staff with the professional education they needed. 

Ellen said: “Due to the rise in the average age of the UK’s population, the number of people living with dementia is growing along with it. This has resulted in an increased interest in care providers having both highly qualified and dementia-trained staff members, that’s what we’re striving for.”

As one of the UK’s most respected care providers for the elderly and a leader in the sector, Audley Care and Mayfield Care recognised the importance of maintaining their reputation whilst upgrading the skill set of their staff. To continue to offer care of the highest level, Audley Care and Mayfield Care took steps to upskill their staff efficiently. By increasing the specialisation of their staff, they were able to offer personalised, practical support to their residents.

The solution

With skills gaps increasing and staff retention rates waning, Audley Care and Mayfield Care looked for sustainable solutions to these problems. Within the adult care sector, staff gain experience in fast-paced and often intense environments – leaving minimal time to learn valuable skills off the job that could help them progress. 

Audley Care and Mayfield Care have worked diligently with Connect2Care, filling skills gaps and building their reputation as an exceptional, enriching and caring company. By offering Connect2Care’s Level 2 in The Principles of Dementia Care course and Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship to their staff, they’re developing leaders and creating a team of specialists at the same time.

Apprenticeships and vocational training offer adult care providers a cost-effective method to upskill their workforce. Employees have the chance to gain independence and respect in the workplace through real work experience, with the reward of a nationally recognised qualification. Apprentices are assessed by training providers throughout their apprenticeship via workplace observations, allowing their learning to fit around their busy schedules. Additionally, adult care employers are able to hire less experienced candidates, as apprenticeships allow employers to train new talent into skilled employees.

Audley Care and Mayfield Care have care staff based from Devon, all the way up to Yorkshire. Thankfully, Connect2Care have Training Consultants based throughout the UK, allowing them to fill skills gaps and implement apprenticeships at every site. 

Their collaboration with Connect2Care provides holistic support to Audley Group’s workforce in its entirety. Audley Group’s Academy Partner, Jessica Lambert, said: “Working with Connect2Care has enriched our training programme with additional opportunities now available to every position in our business. We’ve enhanced our level of care and have implemented training courses throughout Audley Group – no matter what your role.” 

Jessica said: “Connect2Care’s size and flexibility gives care staff at all of our sites the same opportunity to develop their skills. Most importantly, enrolling staff on the Level 2 in The Principles of Dementia Care qualification and Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship has left no stone unturned, filling an industry skills gap and creating leaders at every one of our sites.” 

The results

With the staff of Audley Care and Mayfield Care receiving dementia training, they’re able to offer a higher standard of care. Now, their adult care teams across the country have a deeper understanding of the different types of dementia, empowering them to help and care for residents with dementia, as well as having an understanding of their needs and behaviours. 

Despite the enormity of stress that the adult care sector was under during the COVID-19 pandemic, their investment in training is helping them to retain their adult care staff. Ellen said: “Due to the brutal nature of the pandemic, we wanted to use the opportunity to provide an alternative focus for our staff. Since enrolling 22 staff onto the Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker and Level 4 Lead Practitioner in Adult Care apprenticeships, we’ve retained 100% of those staff. Additionally, we have a confident and fully competent workforce of leaders, capable of helping our residents to have a safe and fulfilling life.”

Building on the success of their investment in apprenticeships, Audley Care and Mayfield Care are looking to expand the opportunities available to their adult care staff. Ellen said: “Moving forward, we’re encouraging our entire adult care staff to take up the Level 3 Lead Adult Care Worker apprenticeship, bringing consistency to the level of training our staff have received and creating career pathways for specialised training in dementia and end of life care.”

By focussing on the education of their staff, Audley Care and Mayfield Care have noticed a wave of positivity throughout their business. Ellen said: “Since training our staff, our residents and their relatives are more relaxed with the knowledge they’re being cared for by highly-trained specialists. Staff feel supported, which has increased their confidence that they’re doing a good job and there are career paths for them. Both of these factors are providing excellent word of mouth and recommendations for the adult care side of our business.