What I believe to be one of the most exciting developments for social care has just been announced. The creation of a National Skills Academy for Social Care is a massive step forward in developing the skills of nearly 1.4 million social care workers. Finally there will be a “one stop shop” to enable employers, staff and service users to access information about learning and development opportunities.
There is, however, one confusing element that will need to be clarified – how will the social care academy link with the plethora of initiatives underway in children’s services? These include the Remodelling Social Work Practice pilots, the Newly Qualified Social Worker schemes and the development of Leadership and Management programmes for the children’s workforce. One answer may be found in the new Social Work Development Partnership Board a collaborative approach between the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC) and Skills for Care (SfC) which aims to improve social work practice.
The numerous questions I am asked about training in the care sector highlight the current confusion about accessing relevant and timely information. For the first time there will be a national scheme to identify and quality assure trainers to support the drive to improve the delivery of teaching and learning, inside and outside the workplace. You will no longer have to wonder which, out of a confusing number of organisations, you should approach to help meet your training needs.
The Academy will provide exemplar programmes for the skills required across the whole workforce in the private, voluntary and public sectors. It will champion innovative solutions to the ways in which training and learning can be delivered and assessed. It will be the information and reference source for individuals and care providers to disseminate good practice in learning, training and education wherever it is fo
Developments will include:
Two new commissioning programmes at national level, available regionally, to ensure that employers are able to contribute to and respond to community and individual needs effectively and efficiently:
A new national scheme to encourage quality in training provision through an accreditation scheme for associations and providers of training.
A new programme of encouragement and support for employers who wish to have their in-house training accredited to national standards.
Signposting the funding available for training and for staff and leadership development.
The Skills Academy will be established as an independent, not for profit organisation on March 30 2009.
Some facts about the social care workforce
Adult social care supports those with a physical or learning disability, people with mental health problems, and older people.
70% of social care staff work in the independent sector (private or voluntary).
Care is provided by more than 35,000 different employers
Most establishments employ less than 10 people
1.5 million people currently work in adult social care including home care workers, care home staff, social workers.
Demographic changes including an ageing population will require a significant increase in the social care workforce. It is projected to group to 2.5 million by 2020.
83% of the social care workforce is female (rising to 90% in direct care)
The majority have limited qualifications
What will the Skills Academy offer?
The Skills Academy is exploring a membership model which will confer a range of benefits, including:
access to a repository of information on funding opportunities and routes for training and development
access to information about accredited training providers and accredited trainers
access to e-learning networks
access to regional learning networks
discounts for kite-marking and quality assurance services
a membership kite-mark for corporate branding
the opportunity to take part in piloting and other developments of programmes and services
the opportunity to influence the direction of the Skills Academy through the membership group.
The Skills Academy for Social Care – Why Now?
To hear the views of the steering group you can watch the introductory video
For more information about the Social Work Development Partnership