Chance to help and support the elderly and vulnerable

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Latest news

Don’t miss your chance to find out about a major campaign to support elderly and vulnerable people in Burgess Hill on Saturday (October 22).

West Sussex County Council is calling on more people to consider careers in care.

This worthwhile profession often gets overlooked but there’s a serious shortage of care workers across the county – despite an ageing population.

The council has been working with independent providers of care and support at home, extra care housing and residential care providers in the county on initiatives to increase the recruitment and retention of care professionals.

The events are taking place at:

• Burgess Hill Library - Saturday 22 October 10am - 2pm

• The Acorn Beefeater Restaurant - Monday 7 November 9:30am - midday

These events have been organised by the local authority and are part of a range of initiatives aimed at improving the profile and reputation of caring as a career.

The events provide a unique opportunity to:

• Meet local employers and discuss the different local vacancies available

• Find the job that suits your life with a range of hours and flexible working

• Hear expert speakers explain the careers available in health and social care

• Find out about the opportunities available if you’re returning to work or recently retired looking for a few hours work each week

• Get information, support and guidance for nurses who want to return to work.

Peter Catchpole, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Health and Social Care, said: “A career in care can be hugely rewarding - there can’t be many jobs which give you an opportunity to make such a direct, positive difference to people’s lives and I would urge people to go along to one of the jobs fairs to find out about the opportunities and job vacancies available now.”

It’s a professional that’s often overlooked - but one that makes the very biggest difference to people’s lives at a time when they need it the most.

Working in care

West Sussex is desperately short of care workers, despite having one of the oldest populations in the UK. It’s estimated that an additional 6,000 people are needed to work in the care market across the county to meet the current demand over the next few years.

But many people are held back by false assumptions about working in care.

West Sussex County Council is committed to encouraging more people to take up this most rewarding and satisfying work. It’s a career that can change your life – and those of the people you work with.

A number of job fairs are being held in Burgess Hill this October for people interested in finding out about more. The Council is also promoting and profiling the roles of different care workers to demonstrate the variety of jobs available and how rewarding the profession can be.

Karen Halford is a registered care home manager in West Sussex and encourages people to consider a career in care.

“Once you’ve started, it really does open up avenues for you. We’ve got people working for us doing nursing qualifications; one member of staff has recently signed up for a midwifery course,” she said.

Asked what makes her get out of bed in the morning, Karen said: “It’s a lovely place to be. Everybody has an off day at work, and some of the residents and our domiciliary clients have off days too. But they appreciate what we do for them. When you see them, you see the smile you put on their face. That makes everything worthwhile. If you can make a difference to someone’s life, you should do it.

“You’ve got nothing to lose by trying it, it’s all to gain. We have a young woman coming to work with us as an apprentice. She didn’t know what she wanted to do but now she’ll get full support from a training company and do a care certificate with us. That will give her 12 weeks of really good grounding into care, then she’ll go on to do her Level 2, Level 3 QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework) in care, health and social care. She’s going to spend part of her time in the care home, part of her time with domiciliary, so she gets the opportunity to explore both avenues. And she’s already really enthusiastic about it because she feels she’s now got a path to follow.”

Asked to pick one example of something that makes her glad she picked a career in care, Karen said: “Some of the things we do for the people here are amazing. A few weeks back, the granddaughter of one of our ladies got married. She was invited to the wedding but wasn’t able to attend because of her health. So we had the wedding Skyped into the care home. All the ladies dressed up with their hats, their fascinators – it was really lovely. We had a two tier wedding cake and prepared a wedding breakfast. All the residents were invited and it was like her being there. Everybody was just so thrilled wot it - it was amazing. She was so proud to see her granddaughter on the big screen. And you can do that in a care environment. It’s lovely.”

Former hairdresser Kerry Duley is a domiciliary care coordinator and spent 17 years caring in the community before this position and said there are lots of opportunities to progress.

“I’ve built a really good career out of it. I’ve done lots of training, gained qualifications and it’s a really good career path now. There’s a stigma attached to care work but you can use it as a platform to build a career on. You can go into nursing, social work – all sorts of things once you’ve got your social care qualifications.

“I used to be a hairdresser and I had a family member that was a Deputy Matron in a care home and I used to go in weekly and do the residents’ hair. They were short staffed and she said ‘Would I fancy trying care?’. I did training, a couple of shifts and I’ve not looked back.”

Kristine Cooper, a care support worker, said the hours appealed to her initially.

“The hours were brilliant and worked well around my children. Initially, I did night shifts so I could be around for them in the day. And you can normally adjust your hours quite easily, as carers are needed 24 hours, 365 days a year. I had been made redundant from my previous job too, which was on the road and travelling a lot, so this was great for me because it was close to where I live.”

Myth busters:

Adult social care is not a job for men:

A career in adult social care is for anyone, regardless of age or gender

It’s all about working with old people

Adult social care offers opportunities to work with all people aged 18 and over

The hours are unsocial

Social care is needed 24/7, but that doesn’t mean you have to work 24/7

People who work in health and social care are poorly paid

The average salary for a care assistant is between 312,000 and £16,000 a year

It’s just a job where you wipe bottoms and feed people

Not all jobs involve personal care. There are lots of varied roles in adult social care.