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Attracting Young talent: Hiring the next generation

Could 2021 be the year that more young people choose a career in social care? Aliyyah-Begum Nasser, Director at Askham Village Community, outlines what you should be telling young people who join your organisation and says it’s time social care stopped living in the shadow of healthcare.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic significantly impacting on the social care sector over the past 12 months, it has also opened the doors to new possibilities and opportunities.

Young people have an opportunity to immerse themselves in an industry that is brimming with careers offering respect, rewards and plentiful avenues for progression.

The sheer volume of recognition cast over social care throughout the pandemic has brought to the fore stories of bravery, comradery and selflessness that would rival any profession. I would argue that this is what makes now a prime time for young people to join your organisation.

When you are planning your next round of recruitment, it is worth considering that for those young people who are finishing their education or are in jobs that they don’t find rewarding, challenging or meaningful, a position in social care will offer all that and more. However, these benefits may not be obvious to young people and as a sector we need to make sure we are being clear about what they are to encourage more people to consider a career in social care.

Society status

For decades, social care has lived in the shadow of healthcare and is often viewed as the inferior sibling. However, times have changed with the sector being thrust into the limelight during the pandemic; this is just the start. Firstly, we need to remind young people that if they work in the industry, they will now hold key worker status. There aren’t many professions that get such recognition and being a social care worker puts you in this select group of people who are recognised nationally as offering a vital service.

The NHS has always been trumpeted for its work, and rightly so, but now social care is beginning to be acknowledged for its work in protecting society’s older and more vulnerable people; giving them the best quality of life possible by offering places where they can thrive. Having someone’s life, their trust, insecurities and dreams in your hand, is something you can’t get anywhere else – that is a key role.

Priority for healthcare support

Working in an environment where health is crucial, staff wellbeing is paramount. It’s important that the next generation of people choosing to work in social care know that their life is just as important as the lives of the people they care for. A role in social care provides people with the tools to thrive so they can better themselves and empower those around them. Mental health initiatives, such as one-to-ones and workshops, for example, provide safe spaces to share and seek support on any issues – the industry is very transparent and help will be given to those who seek it. Everyone pulls together and looks out for each other. The overused saying, ‘We’re more like family than colleagues’ actually stands true with social care; it’s one community where the people at board level right down to the frontline workers are all viewed as being on a level playing field.

Respect from the nation

We saw some incredible stories covered by the mass media over the last 12 months which really highlighted what a career in social care is all about: people going above and beyond the call of duty because they care. Inspirational stories of courage and selflessness, such as those who made the incredibly difficult decision to move into care homes and leave their families behind for weeks at a time, were rightly applauded. These people, however, never asked for the recognition or respect from others, they do the job because they care. It’s not about financial rewards or public recognition, it’s simply about looking after the welfare of others, and while it’s a little sad it’s taken a global pandemic to throw these stories of heroism into the limelight, it’s great they are getting the attention they deserve. Long may it continue, this year and beyond.

Exciting prospects

Ensure that the conversations you’re having with new recruits discuss the endless possibilities in social care in terms of progression and varying roles. One thing social care isn’t is a dead-end career. At Askham, for instance, you could be a physiotherapist, occupational therapist, nurse, doctor or psychologist, as well as having access to specialist equipment such as a hydrotherapy pool and pioneering robotics.

The beauty of the profession is if the opportunity is there and people want it and work hard enough for it, they will achieve it. In other words, you get out what you put in and if you put in a lot, you’ll reap the rewards. Does your organisation offer a clear outline of a possible career pathway? At Askham, someone could start as a care worker and work their way up to a nurse, then registered manager, or into head office. There is no glass ceiling in social care.

Making a difference

One thing’s for certain in social care, your workforce will be making a significant and
life-changing difference to people’s lives. That’s pretty special and not something that’s afforded to most jobs in other professions. There are young people up and down the country working in supermarkets who currently have no long-term career ambitions and it’s those people I encourage to consider a career in social care. There’s a reason so many people who join the profession make a career out of it until retirement.

Joining the movement

There is a clear change happening in the industry, thanks in part to the events of the last 12 months. More communication channels have opened up with healthcare and with this growth will come more resources and scope to provide even better care. Healthcare settings are realising how fundamental our industry is and that can only be a good thing. There has never been a better, more exciting time to join the movement.

Overall, the points mentioned above are just a few of the benefits of joining social care this year – if I had the space to list more, I’d fill a book! Ultimately, this is the message providers should be putting out: for young people who are at a crossroads in their lives and unsure whether to explore a role in social care, if you decide to join our sector, you will be joining a special community of people who will transform your life for the better. Some people make the mistake that it’s just about giving others the best quality of life possible but it’s important not to forget; that includes you, too.

Aliyyah-Begum Nasser is a Director at Askham Village Community, a specialist rehabilitation and care community.  Email: Twitter: @askhamvillage

Do you think young people are currently equipped with enough information to choose a career in social care? Share your thoughts and comment below.



About Aliyyah-Begum Nasser

Aliyyah-Begum Nasser is a Director at Askham Village Community, a specialist rehabilitation and care community situated on the edge of Doddington, between Peterborough and Cambridge.

A family-run business of over 30 years, it provides specialist care and rehab for the very young to the elderly, offering day visits, respite or long-term care, goal-focussed rehabilitation, and continuing reablement support.

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