Talk Health and Care

We must give more carers access to training

‘Everyone should have access to learning and development that enables them to provide high-quality care and to develop in their career’. I couldn’t agree more with this statement. Sadly, we are far away from this becoming a reality in the current system.

According to Skills for Care, 47% of workers in adult social care don’t hold a relevant qualification. Whereas only 24% of the sector hold a Level 2 and only 19% hold a Level 3 qualification. These stats are very worrying, especially for a sector where many in the workforce have a direct impact on the quality of life people lead.

Training has to be at the forefront of change in the sector going forward to ensure quality of care is maintained, improved, and consistent across the UK.

Yet to this date, care workers aren’t even recognised as skilled workers. How can this be the case when so much dedication, determination, knowledge and skills are needed to ensure outstanding care is provided to meet the needs of individuals? Ongoing training should be part of the DNA of any skilled worker.

As a sector we not only need to provide and support our workforce with training, to develop them and give them incentives to stay in their roles, but we also need to do all we can to change perceptions inside and outside the sector, to make working in adult social care more attractive to more people. If we do this, we can boost the number of skilled workers to meet the growing demand for complex care.

For care homes and settings, the challenge is understanding what funding is available to support their workforce with training. Funding and clear guidance around it has to be a priority of the upcoming green paper to drive quality of care for the individuals who need it most.

How does your employer help you to develop your skills or career?

What would you like to happen to enable you to develop your skills and career more?

Debbie Gardiner MBE Nov 26, 2018

I was so pleased to see this as this is what I've been saying for some time. A lack of staff training will result in more hospital admissions this winter and more bed blocking because care homes aren't equipped to have them return without more training. The longer term impact will a lack of succession planning, leading to shortages of experienced and skilled managers. The level 2 training is critical and I know from 1st hand relative experience how a lack of training leads to safeguarding issues and the quality of life for service users.

Reply 0

Fay Gibbin Nov 27, 2018

Hi Debbie,

I am pleased to see that you are as passionate about training as I am. I couldn’t agree more. The fact that almost one in two care workers don’t have any relevant training, is leading to the knock-on effect you mention for the NHS and also for the families and loved ones of the people who need the system most.

There is an alarming number of families who are having to take on the role of ‘unpaid carer’ to ensure their loved ones are getting support. Alongside funding for more care services, we need to see a recruitment drive for the sector, as this is unfair on those who are doing everything they can to care for loved ones who need access to quality care.

I would like to see standardised training to ensure consistency in care and to drive quality. Training should be ongoing for every care worker, no matter what stage of their career they are at. If we don’t begin increasing the number of trained care workers now, as you mention, we will face more challenges in the future when there is a lack of skilled managers, leading a low-skilled work force. The up and coming green paper is crucial to the change we want to see.

Reply 1

Sam P DHSC Dec 12, 2018

Dear Fay

Thank you for your detailed idea. You have picked up on a number of very important issues faced by the social care workforce. Training is of course fundamental to ensuring that citizens receive the highest possible quality of care, but it also directly challenges the harmful misconception that those in the social care workforce are ‘unskilled’. Ensuring more of the workforce have access to training is an important aspect of upskilling the workforce, helping to keep staff working in the sector, and demonstrating to people outside the sector just how valuable and important the work conducted by those in social care truly is.

The Social Care Green Paper will be looking at what more we can do to support people working in social care and we welcome your feedback to the consultation once the paper is published. In particular we’d be very interested in your views on what you think the funding priorities should be, and your opinion on what better and clearer guidance could look like.

We are also launching a national adult social care recruitment campaign in the New Year, so do keep a look out for it locally.

Thank you again for posting your idea, and please continue to share your ideas and comments on the platform.


Reply 0

Fay Gibbin Dec 13, 2018

Hi Sam,

Thanks for reading my post and taking the time to get back to me. I’m glad that you agree that training is key to the future of the sector and to the quality of care. The sooner we can attract and retain more people in the industry the sooner we can ensure that quality of care is consistent across the UK. We are all aware that we have an ageing population, with the number of people who require complex care set to increase substantially in the coming years. We are at a crucial point and hopefully we can work together to bring about the change that is needed.

Like everyone who is passionate about health and social care, I am eager to see what will be put forward in the Social Care Green Paper and I look forward to offering my feedback at the consultation stage. Working closely with employers in the sector, I know for many the main challenges around funding for training are lack of knowledge and access to, the Workforce Development Fund for CPD and accredited courses and confusion around the apprenticeship levy. Alongside the cost and a hesitance to provide training because of high staff turnover (a catch-22 situation), these are the issues we need to address. I think a simple to follow guide for training, development and progression in social care that covers levy, non-levy and WDF funding, is a good place to start.

Another key challenge I know many settings are facing is that they can’t release staff for training as they can’t afford the additional costs to cover them. One of the many reasons we’ll be launching an e-learning platform in the New Year which will make a big difference to providing access to training and development without the need for staff to travel and will be far more cost-effective.

It’s good to hear about the adult social care recruitment campaign. We would love to be involved and to support the campaign, will there be information coming through about how we are able to get involved?

Thank you!

Reply 0

Sam P DHSC Jan 10, 2019

Dear Fay,

Thank you for your response. You’ve highlighted several important issues facing the Social Care workforce and have suggested a particularly good idea around a guide for training, development and progression within the sector. We would also love to hear more about your new e-learning platform and what your experience with that has been so far.

In regards to the recruitment campaign, here are the ways in which you can keep up to date with the campaign and how employers can get involved (please share these with any colleagues who want to get involved too!):

1. Sign up for Skills for Care briefing events
From 30th January, Skills for Care are running recruitment workshops across the country. Follow this link to sign up for an event near you as soon as you can:

2. Look out for our Campaign Toolkit
We are producing a Campaign Toolkit, an interactive pdf resource that will enable providers to support the national recruitment campaign, giving you tips on wider recruitment marketing activity. If you successfully sign up to one of the Skills for Care events above, you will be given a hard copy. Alternatively, the Toolkit pdf will live on our campaign website:

3. Look out for our PR and support it with your own
We will be advertising this campaign in many different ways. You may see the campaign on bus stop posters or hear about it on local radio adverts as well as local and national news channels. You will see the digital adverts on Facebook and Instagram as well as on job boards and relevant job sites.
In order to support it, please follow our Facebook page and re-post/share our content. The Toolkit (above) will include sample Tweets and Facebook posts for you to share with your networks as well.

4. Send in your case studies
Finally, the most powerful tool for raising the profile of adult social care is through the stories of care workers and those they care for. If you have a story to tell, or if your staff do, please read and fill in the attached form and send it to We will then share these stories on Facebook (and in the wider Media should you wish to) in order to encourage others to consider a career in adult social care.

5. Advertise your vacancies on DWP Find a Job (for employers)
In order to direct prospective employees to one website, we will be linking to DWP Find a job. If you are a provider, or work with providers in your network, please make sure your vacancies are advertised on DWP Find a job. If you don’t have an account as an employer, click on ‘Create an account’ on the right hand side. This will be the best way to benefit from the interest that we hope to spark.

Thank you very much again for your comment.


Reply 0

Fay Gibbin Jan 11, 2019

Hi Sam,

Thanks for your response.

At this stage our e-learning platform is still in a trial process, but the feedback and response we’ve had from employers and learners so far has been really positive. We are happy to share more information with you about it and our experiences once it has officially launched in the coming months.

Thank you for bringing my attention to your Skills for Care workshops, I will be sure to get involved and look forward to attending them. Thank you for all the info above.

Best wishes,


Reply 0

View all replies (3)

Sarah O'Connor Dec 19, 2018

Trying to engage care staff in professional development is not easy at times. I spend a lot of my time trying to coax staff into doing more than 'just the basics.' Perhaps introducing a mandatory registered body for all levels of care workers would help? I'm just about to Revalidate as a RN and my CPD is an integral part of that. I have always seen CPD as part of my job role, many care assistants do not. They need to feel that they are recognised as skilled workers, even if they don't have a degree!

Reply 0

Fay Gibbin Jan 2, 2019

Hi Sarah,

Thank you for your message and for taking the time to read my post. It’s great to read about your passion for training and the importance you place in CPD. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Until healthcare assistants are seen as ‘skilled’ workers then as a sector we will see a lack of interest from many to upskill and develop. It’s an attitude we have to change from the inside out. After all, if we continue to welcome people into the sector with the message that they only have to ‘learn the basics’ to work in adult social care, then it’s no surprise that many lack the drive to seek out or take up quality ongoing training to ensure they provide the highest level of care.

I think this is where, as you say, a mandatory professional register would help. In 2013 the Francis Report recommended that healthcare assistants should be subject to mandatory regulation. I’m sure you may be familiar with the report but if not, it makes for interesting reading. Around the same time a British Journal of Healthcare Assistants poll of staff found 93% of those surveyed backed compulsory registrations, recognising healthcare assistants on an official register in same way nurses are. The poll and the report indicate the passion and level of feeling there is in the sector to do everything we can to ensure quality care is provided to all.

A register like the one you suggested could help to ensure all workers across our sector have the right values, training and support to provide the right care to those who need it most. I hope we see something along these lines put forward in the Social Care Green Paper.

Thanks Sarah and Happy New Year.

All the best,

Reply 1