27 Feb 2014
A team leader from Grassington is spearheading a campaign to address the drastic shortage of staff in the care sector.
Harriet Midgley, 23, who works at Gills Top care home in Scar Street, 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 Yorkshire 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.
Harriet said that as Britain’s population aged, dementia was going to be more prevalent. There are more than 64,160 people in Yorkshire 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 98 per cent of young people in Yorkshire aged 16 to 25 agree care is a suitable profession for a man but 40% of them say they had not considered becoming a carer.
However, more than a quarter (26%) of young people in Yorkshire said they would consider a job as a carer if there was a more positive public perception of the role.
Harriet, who was presented with the Open Doors Business Award from Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in November last year for getting her job with Anchor through Job Centre Plus, said she was proud to work in care and would encourage other young people to join the sector.
She said: “Originally I became a care assistant as a stepping stone into caring for young people but having started at Gills Top I realised I had found my vocation.
“I really enjoy working with older people because it’s so rewarding. You’re making a big difference to the lives of vulnerable people. I like helping them out. Every day is different and that’s what makes the job interesting.
“There is a good career path in the care sector and I’ve been promoted from care assistant to team leader in two years.
“There are lots of opportunities to learn new skills and my family are surprised how many skills you need to be a carer. We really need more good people to do this important job.”
She added that society had to address the workforce timebomb otherwise older people of the future faced a life without care.
Harriet 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.”