Care workers unite to challenge perceptions of their jobs

WeCare Wales campaign marks first year by challenging perceptions of a ‘low skilled’ workforce.

Social care, early years and childcare employees today (3 March 2020) came together to mark the first year of the WeCare Wales campaign and challenge the public’s perception of their jobs.

They are all part of the latest phase of the WeCare Wales campaign which aims to encourage more people to consider working in social care, early years and childcare roles by answering some common misconceptions about the work they do.

Around one in 17 adults in Wales work in the sector, making it a larger employer than the NHS. However, the growing demand for care services means that an estimated 2,000 additional people a year are needed to work in the sector by 2030.

Many people believe that working in the sector involves a lot of personal and direct care, that it’s low skilled work with little reward. Those involved in the next stage of the campaign are hoping to change such perceptions by highlighting what makes their job worthwhile, the various progression routes available and the ability to gain qualifications while you work.

One person who chose a career in care is Abbi-Lee Davies, Head of Service for residential care at M&D Care, from Carmarthenshire.

Abbi-Lee said: “I was unhappy in my previous job. I desperately needed to change my career and saw a vacancy for a support worker. I didn’t have any qualifications to work in care, but I’ve since been able to do my qualifications while I work.

“People think that working in care is a low-skilled job with lots of personal care, but it’s a profession. I’ve been able to build on my career over the last seven years by taking part in a fast-track management scheme. I’m now responsible for overseeing the management of residential homes. This includes managing the staff and making sure the residents are happy and progressing with their programmes. It’s definitely opened doors for me.”

Martin Katawaluwa is a Residential Child Care Manager from Wrexham. Martin took a part time role as a care worker in a residential children’s home while studying for his Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 2006. He said: “I believed my career would take a certain path after my Master’s, however what I found is that I enjoyed working in care so much, I stayed.

“I progressed through the ranks and now I’m a manager of a home with children between 11 and 18-years-old and have completed another Master’s degree in leadership.

“Working in the social care sector isn’t without its challenges. There can be difficult days, but for the right person it can be a very rewarding career. You’ve got to be someone who understands people and genuinely want to help them and make a difference while putting your own needs aside.”

Mick Giannasi CBE, Chair of the Social Care Wales Board, said: “The idea that people who work in care are ‘low skilled’ is a common misconception that the WeCare Wales campaign wants to challenge. The workforce is incredibly skilled, and employees work hard to make sure adults and children get the right support to enable them to thrive in life.

“There are a variety of qualifications you need to work in some roles and others that you can gain while working, however we recognise it’s not a role for everyone. We want to inspire the right people to build their career in care to support the most vulnerable people in Wales.”

Julie Morgan, Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services, said: “Wales is committed to helping raise the profile of our workforce – and social care as a whole – and the first-year anniversary of the WeCare Wales campaign is an excellent example of that.

“We mustn’t shy away from the fact that working with people with complex needs can be challenging at times, but that is part of the reason why I found it so refreshing to hear what those delivering care enjoy about working in the sector.

“With the wonderfully talented and dedicated workforce we have across our country, we can meet challenges head-on and continue giving high quality support to those who need it.”

For more information on the different roles available, and details of local employers in social care, early years and childcare sectors in Wales, visit WeCare.wales

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