With staff shortages in the care sector commanding news headlines on a daily basis, Staffordshire-based Acacia Training has responded with the launch of a new Professional Care Pathway programme – the most comprehensive the sector has ever seen.
Structured as a flexible six-year package, the training programme provides learners with the opportunity to progress to a Level 5 qualification and those wishing to, can also complete a teaching qualification in the final year. Significantly, it is open equally to those new to the sector, those already following a career within it, and those considering a return to health and social care. For employers, the pathway commences at the recruitment stage making it the most comprehensive and advanced programme of its kind in the care sector.
Created in direct response to the needs of care employers, Acacia’s Professional Care Pathway has been developed to transform how care workers are perceived, through the raising of standards and provision of professional qualifications to degree level and beyond.
Lisa Davies, speaking on behalf of Acacia Training, comments: “The pandemic shone a spotlight on the vital role of those working in care like never before. However, recruitment and retention combine to pose the sector with its biggest challenge of all. Official figures from Skills for Care suggest that whilst recruitment initially improved in the six months after the start of the pandemic, it has since worsened and there are now in excess of 100,000 positions which remain vacant.
“Employers in the care sector are under immense daily pressure to deliver their core services to those who rely on them. Yet they’re also battling to keep their existing staff empowered and invested in their careers, whilst also attracting new talent. They’re certainly superheroes but they simply can’t do it all. Our Professional Care Pathway addresses this.”
Starting at the point of recruitment, the Professional Care Pathway allows employers to hand their vacancies over to Acacia’s dedicated recruitment service to manage all aspects of advertising the vacancies, vetting applications and recommending a shortlist for interview. Acacia Training then manages pre-employability training for successful candidates before they commence on their professional career training.
Home Instead, which provides care at home services nationwide, is Acacia’s first partner in the roll out of the Professional Care Pathway and was pivotal in its creation. Michelle Blunt, General Manager for Home Instead across North Staffordshire, comments: “For too long, care work has been seen as a low wage job, attracting people who don’t aspire to a career. This isn’t how it should be. We want to drive up standards, give care workers a newfound professional status and, of course, provide those we deliver care services to with the most qualified workforce.
“By partnering with Acacia, we identified how their expertise in recruitment, pre-employability training and unrivalled experience of specialist training could provide us with the most advanced recruitment and retention programme in the care sector. I can’t wait to see how this ground-breaking approach empowers our current and future workers, providing them with a sense of pride and genuine career progression.”
The Professional Care Pathway not only offers flexibility to the learners who follow it but is also entirely flexible to meet the needs of the sector. Lisa Davies concludes:
“When Home Instead approached us to support on its recruitment and training needs, it quickly became apparent that the challenges it faces are far from unique.
“Whilst the focus is often on recruitment and retention, the detail behind these factors is far more complex and countless reports highlight the myriad of challenges the sector faces that also include engagement, motivation, promotion and how those in care are rewarded.
“Simply, Acacia can relieve the pressure for care providers across all these areas. Starting with our bespoke recruitment and onboarding offer, through our in-house careers guidance service that maps individualised career progression journeys, our impactful employee engagement strategies and, of course, our rich heritage in all areas of care sector training, we can provide the most comprehensive and professionally focused recruitment, training and retention programme to meet the individual needs of every care provider in this country.”
The rollout of the Professional Care Pathway with Home Instead starts this month (October 2021) with Acacia looking to onboard multiple care providers by the end of the year.
To find out more about Acacia’s Professional Care Pathway programme, contact the team on 01782 646 346 / www.acaciatraining.co.uk