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Back to News & Events Posted on 10 December, 2018

Raising the standards of training in the care sector

The Skills For Care "Cut out and keep" this month comes from Lindsey Appleby-Flynn, National Lead for Adult Health and Social Care at Connect2Care, a Skills for Care Endorsed Provider. Lindsey shares her insights into why training for your staff is so important and offers some suggestions for the types of training that you and your team could undertake.

There is an ever-growing need for well trained staff within the care sector. With an ageing population, the health and social care sector is growing and as such the need to recruit more staff has never been more pressing.

Figures show just under 340,000 social care employees leave their job each year and there are a further 110,000 vacancies for social care jobs being posted in England on any one day. The Department for Health and Social Care estimates that the workforce will need to grow by 2.6% every year until 2035.

With these statistics in mind, how can you as a registered manager ensure that you not only have a full team, but that they’re offering the highest quality care possible? Whilst there isn’t one simple solution that can solve all the challenges you and your service will face, investing in high quality training can go a long way to tackling the skills shortage. But when we talk about training, it’s not only about using training to ensure skills gaps are being plugged, it’s also about ensuring those currently in the sector are future-ready.

To do this, you will need to examine the current care your service is providing and any specialist areas which you are looking to develop in years to come and ensure there are formal training programmes in place to equip your teams to provide care in these areas. 

Take dementia care as an example, more than 500,000 people in the UK are currently thought to be living with dementia and this figure is rising year-on-year. In fact, the number of people with the illness is predicted to increase by an astounding 281% from 2015 to 20503. Despite this, it’s estimated that one in three care workers haven’t received formal dementia training and a further 71% have received training which isn’t accredited. It’s essential that your staff are equipped and ready to care for the many thousands who will most need it in the future and this is where training and apprenticeships come in.

The benefits of offering training and apprenticeships are manifold and can offer longer term efficiency savings for your organisation. Not only are they a way to entice more people into the care sector, they also help to retain current talent, increase morale and improve performance and efficiency. 80% of companies which invest in apprentices report an increase in staff retention and 92% experience a more motivated and satisfied team. While these are pretty impressive figures, ultimately the most important thing is that they help to provide a better quality of care to people using services.

Investing in staff training programmes helps to better the service delivered. It gives employees confidence in their role, courage to support individuals and commitment to the job. In turn, this can lead to improved Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection reports as an apprenticeship enables staff to have the skills, knowledge and behaviours required to meet these inspections. 

Let’s look at CQC inspections in more detail and the five questions that inspections focus on when referring to the service provided to end users:

1. Are they safe?

Ensuring patients are protected from harm.

2. Are they effective?

The care, treatment and support achieves good outcomes and helps the quality of life to be maintained.

3. Are they caring?

Staff treat patients with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect.

4. Are they responsive to people’s needs?

Services are organised and meet the needs of patients.

5. Are they well-led?

The leadership and management team of the organisation ensures high-quality care based around individual needs, learning and innovation is encouraged and there is an open and fair culture.

Each of the above questions are then broken down into key lines of enquiry (KLOE). When CQC inspectors carry out inspections, they use the KLOE to help decide which areas a care home needs to focus on. For example, the inspection team might look at how risks are identified and managed to help them understand whether a service is safe.

A large part of achieving a good rating at a CQC inspection, and a well-rounded team generally, is ensuring a well-trained leadership team is in place. At Connect2Care, we offer apprenticeships to meet the needs of carers at every stage of their career, from Level 2 apprenticeships, such as the Adult Care Worker Apprenticeship, through to the Level 5 Leader in Adult Care Apprenticeship. Higher level apprenticeships not only help those in a management position to benefit from further training, but also for team members to be able to visualise viable career progression ahead of them.

The Level 5 leadership and management qualification enables managers of care services to have the skills and knowledge to lead and manage a team effectively, have good governance, and understand and apply regulatory processes. This results in a leadership team with the skills and knowledge to ensure that the service provided is well-managed, responsive to an individual’s needs, caring and well-led; all of the key elements which the CQC look out for.

With challenging times ahead for the care sector, particularly with the potential impact Brexit could have on the workforce, now is the time for registered managers to look at how a robust training and development programme can help them to secure their workforce now and in the future.