25 Feb 2014
Two workers from a Chichester care home are spearheading a campaign to address the drastic shortage of staff in the sector.
Care assistants Patti Kubat and Steve Pritchard, who work at Augusta Court care home in Winterbourne Road, hope to encourage job seekers to join the care sector to meet the demands of Britain’s ageing population.
The pair have launched the campaign in West Sussex to mark a report issued by Anchor and the International Longevity Centre which has found 40 per cent of the projected increase in England’s working age population will need to enter the care profession to tackle a staffing timebomb. If current trends continue, England could face a shortfall of 718,000 care workers by 2025, and an unprecedented number of men are needed to bridge the gap.
Patti, 24, said that as Britain’s population aged, dementia was going to be more prevalent. There are more than 196,130 people in the south of England who have been diagnosed or are likely to have dementia. According to Age UK, the number of people living with dementia in the UK is expected to rise to one million by 2025.
She said men needed to join the care sector in order for the country to cope with this increase in older people needing care. Women currently make up 82 per cent of the care workforce and whereas just 4.2 per cent of working men work in health and social care, nearly one in six women (15.5%) work in the sector.
Additional research conducted by Anchor found that even though 95 per cent of young people aged 16 to 25 in the South agree care is a suitable profession for a man, 36% of them say they had not considered becoming a carer.
However, 21% of young people in the South said they would consider a job as a carer if there was a more positive public perception of the role.
Patti, who joined the care sector 14 months ago, said: “The care sector gives you lots of opportunities to develop yourself.
“If you are really passionate about working with older people, you can progress in your career with much more job satisfaction, knowing you are helping older people to improve their lives.”
The report found that older workers looking for a career change later in life also needed to join the care sector. Three quarters (75%) of over 50s said they have never considered a career in care but 47 per cent would be persuaded into a career in care if they knew they would be supported by training.
Steve, 64, who joined the care sector for two years, said he was proud to work in care and was surprised older workers were unaware of the benefits of working in the care sector.
He said: “I would recommend care as a career precisely because there is plenty of regular training which helps people do your job well.
“Being an activity co-ordinator provides me with the opportunity to use my skills as a musician and an artist. I am also able to learn new skills and to continue to contribute those I came with.”
He added that society had to address the workforce timebomb otherwise older people of the future faced a life without care.
Steve said: “The care sector needs to attract a wider range of staff: young and old, and we need more men to consider care as a potential career – particularly as men are living longer. Our workforce should reflect the diversity of our residents.”