An activities co-ordinator from Faringdon is spearheading a campaign to address the drastic shortage of staff in the care sector.

Vanessa Pryor, 26, who works at Ferendune Court care home in Ash Close, hopes to encourage job seekers to join the care sector to meet the demands of Britain’s ageing population.

She has launched the campaign in Oxfordshire 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.

Vanessa, who started working in the care sector for three years, said that as Britain’s population aged, dementia was going to be more prevalent. At present there are more than 50,983 people in Oxfordshire and the surrounding counties who have been diagnosed or are likely to have dementia. According to Age UK, the number of people living with dementia 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 94 per cent of young people agree care is a suitable profession for a man, a quarter of men aged 16 to 25 (25%) say they would never consider becoming a carer. Nearly a third (31%) of young men said that was because they simply didn’t know enough about the job to be able to consider it.

Vanessa said she was proud to work in care and would encourage other young people to join the sector.

She said: “I like working in the care sector because there are lots of opportunities to develop a career with support from my manager and other staff.
“However, the most rewarding part of working for Anchor are the people I see on a daily basis - the residents.
“Caring is such a rewarding role, and you can learn so much from the older generation as they have been there and done what we are doing now. I love the fact that my job has such a positive impact on all the people you come in to contact with.”
She added that society had to address the workforce timebomb otherwise older people of the future faced a life without care.

Vanessa 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 customers.

“Anchor is creating 1,000 new jobs across the south east, ranging from care assistants through to managerial positions at our new developments. We offer extensive training and promotion prospects that we hope will continue to encourage people to consider joining and staying in the care workforce.”

Read more about the Future Care Workforce report here.

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