A team leader from an East Grinstead care home is spearheading a campaign to address the drastic shortage of staff in the sector.

Joan Belton, 75, who works at Silver Court care home in Halsford Lane, 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 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.

Joan 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 workforce5 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.

The report found that older people 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.

Joan, who has worked for Silver Court care home since it opened 20 years ago, said she was proud to work in care and would encourage other people of all ages to join the sector.

She said: “I was surprised older workers didn’t realise the benefits of working in care.

“I would recommend care as a career precisely because there is plenty of regular training which helps me do my job well.

“I enjoy my work very much, meeting different people and helping residents with dementia. I love this job because it’s so varied and I’m doing something worthwhile.

“I would recommend working with older people to those considering a career change as it would fulfil their career aspirations.”
She added that society had to address the workforce timebomb otherwise older people of the future faced a life without care.

Joan 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.”

Read more about the Future Care Workforce report here.


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