A Teesside college is helping a North Yorkshire care provider to tackle a chronic skills shortage in the industry.
Sixteen apprentices from Redcar & Cleveland College are currently employed at the Abbey Care Village in Scorton near Richmond. Eight of the students are working towards a Level 2 qualification in Health & Social Care, seven are studying for a Level 3 Diploma in the same subject and another student is nearing completion of a Level 3 Diploma in Hospitality.
Now the college has announced it is supplying another tranche of apprentices to the care village, which had previously struggled to find workers with the requisite skills. Fifteen students will work towards a Level 2 qualification in social care while gaining valuable work experience at the company, which provides residential care, nursing care, a mental health support service, a respite service for carers and support for people with learning disabilities.
The announcement comes as the care industry battles to overcome a crippling skills shortage. Figures from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) show that up to two million more workers will need to be trained and recruited by 2022 to meet demand – more than half the current care workforce.
Shirley Leighton, training manager at Abbey Care Village, said: “It’s no secret that we need new talent coming into the industry, not just young apprentices but also older workers with the necessary skills and experience. Our partnership with Redcar & Cleveland College is helping us to tackle the issue head on.”
The partnership also highlights the college’s commitment to adult apprenticeships. All fifteen of the new tranche of apprentices are over the age of 24, as are the seven Level 3 Health & Social Care students from the first batch. This replicates a trend across the Tees Valley; recent data from the Skills Funding Agency showed a 30% rise in the number of adult apprenticeship starts in the area in 2014-15.
Steven Winterburn, apprenticeships manager at Redcar & Cleveland College, said: “The care sector is a major employer in the North East and North Yorkshire so it’s vital that employers have access to the right skills. Apprenticeships are a fantastic way of helping employers to create jobs and tackle industry skills shortages.
“Our Health & Social Care apprenticeships are proving to be really popular, particularly among people over the age of 24. Many students are getting the necessary qualifications so that they can forge a career in the sector.”