26 Feb 2014
Two workers from a Saltash care home are spearheading a campaign to address the drastic shortage of staff in the sector.
Care Assistants Arron Dark, 19, and Merlyn McGuire, 62, who work at St Anne’s care home in Plougastel Drive, 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 Cornwall 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.
Arron said that as Britain’s population aged, dementia was going to be more prevalent. There are more than 81,142 people in the South West 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.He 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 95% of young people aged 16 to 25 in the South West agree care is a suitable profession for a man but 31% of them say they had not considered becoming a carer.
One of the reasons for this could be the influence of their parents: nearly a fifth (18%) of parents in the South West said they would not suggest a career in care to their child.
Arron, who has worked in the care sector since the age of 16, said: “I love my job and every day is different so I would recommend it to everyone.
“I think young people should join the care sector because older generations enjoy the company of younger carers. I love making a difference to older people’s lives.”
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.
Merlyn, who has worked in the care sector for 22 years, said she was proud to work in care and was surprised older workers were unaware of the benefits of working in the care sector. She said: “I would recommend care as a career precisely because there is plenty of regular training which helps people do your job well.
“I feel it is a good career for those women who have finished raising their families and have not had a chance for a career or have been out of the job market for a long time. It is a worthwhile career to develop into.”
Anchor’s Chief Executive Jane Ashcroft CBE said that society had to address the workforce timebomb otherwise older people of the future faced a life without care.
She 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.”