Care work is a rewarding job that’s had a workforce deficit for a long time. But will more people choose this profession if they’re made redundant?
As COVID-19 continues to sweep the country, the thought of widespread redundancy has been on a lot of people’s minds. Once the scale of redundancies is finally noticed, will those looking for employment choose to get into care work?
Care work has always had a large number of vacancies. One way to fix this is to promote care work as a viable and lucrative option when giving redundancy advice to those who have lost their jobs.
Today, we’re going to briefly outline what care work entails, discuss whether it will become more popular due to COVID-19, in addition to sharing some reasons why it’s a great profession to get into. Why not join the care work club?
What is Care Work?
Before we get into how COVID redundancies might help fill the gap in the care sector, we’re going to quickly go over the general role of a care worker.
The types of Care Worker include:
- care assistants
- support workers
- nursing home assistants.
They help vulnerable people manage their daily activities so they can live as independently as possible.
Care Worker Responsibilities
A care worker has various responsibilities in their role, which differ depending on what the person you’re looking after needs help with. These responsibilities include:
- Helping who you’re caring for wash and dress themselves
- Making food for them or helping them eat
- Getting to know their interests and individual needs
- Performing household tasks, like washing their clothes and shopping for them
- Monitoring their weight and recording any concerns they have
- Checking they’ve taken their prescribed medications
- Supporting their physical and mental wellbeing in every activity they perform
- Supporting families who have to care for a family member
- Giving practical and emotional support to children and young people
- Working with other health and social care workers
- Organising outings and leisure activities
Care Worker Qualities
If those duties sound like they’re a good fit for you, there are a few desired qualities care providers look for in their workers, these include:
- Compassion and understanding
- The desire to help others
- Working well with others
- Being patient and remaining calm in stressful situations
- Being able to accept criticism
- Attention to detail
- Good customer service and verbal communication skills
- Knowing how to perform basics tasks on a computer
Will Care Work Become Popular Due to COVID-19?
Care work has always been an attractive profession for those who want to help others and give back to their communities. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough people in the profession to meet the demand, and many people go without the care they desperately need.
The hope is that, with COVID taking people out of their regular jobs in hospitality and leisure, they might decide to fill the workforce gaps in the care sector.
Care Work has a Workforce Deficit
In January 2020, parliament published an article on the health and social care workforce gap. In the article, they estimated that adult social care had over 122,000 FTE vacancies in the NHS, which is a vacancy rate of 8 percent versus a rate of 3 percent for other jobs across the UK.
An analysis by the King’s Fund claimed that around one in 10 social workers and one in 11 care worker roles were reportedly unfilled.
As the demand for care workers rises with the UK’s ageing population, Skills for Care have estimated the need for 650,000 to 950,000 adult social care jobs by 2035.
Care companies across the UK are creating new jobs to meet the demands of COVID. It looks like there’s a huge push to employ people in the sector. Here are a few of the vacancies we saw open up at the end of March:
- The home care company Cera created 10,000 new jobs to provide immediate relief and support to the NHS and elderly in isolation.
- The care provider Home Instead Senior Care asked for 3,000 kind, compassionate people to join their company.
- Care provider HC-One said it had thousands of new, permanent roles at 300 care homes across the country.
Martin Jones, Chief Executive of Home Instead Senior Care, says it all: ‘For those people who have recently lost a role in hospitality or retail that might have transferable skills, we want to let you know that we are here for you and can offer you the opportunity of employment.’
Will people who are made redundant take up Martin Jones’ offer? There are two major factors for consideration in order to answer this question…
Will There be Enough Redundancies to Fill the Gap?
Companies have already announced tens of thousands of redundancies across the UK and, with millions of people still on furlough, experts expect this number to get higher.
The government’s economic forecaster, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has suggested that unemployment could double before the year is out. This would get close to levels only seen in the 1980s. The sectors most likely to be hit are:
Currently, there are over 9 million jobs, across 1 million companies furloughed in the UK since the scheme launched in March. This scheme will be closed entirely by the end of October. The OBR estimates that at least 10 percent of those furloughed workers will lose their jobs.
These people will undoubtedly need further employment, and with the sectors, they come from all making cuts, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to stay in the same profession. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll go to the care profession. But, with care work having an 8 percent vacancy rate, 5 percent higher than other sectors, there’s reason to believe the unemployed will go there.
Community Initiative Surge
The level of redundancy is only the first factor in whether the care sector will receive more workers. Additionally, tens of thousands of people joined community efforts to look after vulnerable people in society.
These people picked up shopping, delivered medicine, and even offered music lessons to tackle boredom. Those involved in these community initiatives took on some of the same responsibilities as a care worker. Given that many of these people are furloughed workers, individuals who lose their jobs at the end of October will therefore have already seen the benefits of caring for vulnerable people.
But it won’t only be those who got involved who might look at care work as a valid profession. COVID-19 has taught us to care more for the most vulnerable in our society and will help the care sector grow.
Why Care Work Isn’t Just a Last Resort After Redundancy
At this point, you might be thinking the only reason to get into care work is that you might be out of a job, however, there are so many benefits to being part of the care sector, we’re going to share some of them with you.
Social care has more jobs than the NHS, with 1.6 million workers to 1.4 million in the NHS. There are hundreds of different jobs across the sector, including social workers, nurses, cleaners, IT technicians, chefs, administrators, managers and support workers.
Therefore, moving to the care sector doesn’t mean you have to abandon all your skills. You could even fill a managerial role if you’ve been a manager, or an IT role if you’ve been an IT technician.
As you might imagine, a career in care work is extremely rewarding.
Many care workers build strong relationships with the people they work with. So, you might even make a connection you truly value. You can also do the same with people’s families, so you can see the difference you are making to their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
The job isn’t always easy, as new challenges crop up quite often. That said, overcoming those challenges make us stronger people, and gives us a sense of fulfilment at the end of each day.
Demands for care work from local communities are high, and carers rarely struggle to find work near to their homes. This saves you time and costly travel expenses.
You Don’t Need Qualifications
Many people think that getting into care work is difficult, but you don’t need an official qualification to apply for a care worker job. After all, the emphasis is on people, not papers.
It’s helpful to have previous experience, and you do need basic English and Maths skills. Ultimately though, the sector is looking for everyday compassionate people to sign up. So if you think you fit the bill, you’ll be good to go. You will even get training on the job to ensure you meet the needs of your dependents.
Care work is even a great starting point if you’re thinking of getting into the nursing or medical sectors! This way, you can obtain qualifications, such as a Diploma in Health and Social Care.
Should You Get into Care Work?
Today we’ve managed to cover what care work involves; how there might be a surge in care work employment due to COVID-19 and the redundancies it’s causing; and reasons why you should consider being a care worker.
After reading this, if you decide that care work is for you, then start looking online for positions today, and snap up one of the many jobs available in your area.
If you need any information on the care homes and services in your area, check out our search for care page and see if they have any positions available. We hope we’ve shown you why care work may be your next career option.
We wish you luck in our job hunt.
Joanna works in digital PR and copywriting, and has a vested interest in writing quality articles for websites that provide a great message. She believes everyone should choose a career path that they are passionate about, and hopes that this article will help some people do just that.