Care providers and those wishing to pursue a career in the sector can access free training at a new academy launching next week.
Durham County Council has set up the County Durham Care Academy to improve skills and resilience within the care sector, offering support across a range of areas including recruitment and retention of staff, training, technology and service delivery.
It is part of a broader programme of work aimed at supporting independent adult social care providers across the county.
And next Tuesday (September 3) a special launch event will take place at Durham Masonic Hall in Old Elvet, Durham City, with the public encouraged to come along between 1pm and 3pm to find out more about careers within the care sector and the training on offer.
In County Durham, there are more than 100 independent care providers whose teams of care workers support adults with social and physical activities including household tasks, personal care and attending appointments.
Adult health and social care roles make up a large proportion of the county’s employment opportunities.
According to the independent charity Skills for Care, 10.3% of adult social care roles are vacant in County Durham, which equates to about 1,400 vacancies at any one time.
The average age of a care worker, meanwhile, is 44, with 25% of the workforce aged over 55 and due to reach retirement age in the next ten years. This is set against increasing demand for care, as the aged population continues to grow.
To help providers meet this need, the Care Academy has developed the Routeway into Adult Health and Social Care course which starts this September.
Just one of a broad range of training opportunities on offer at the academy, the free six-week accredited programme has been developed with employers and is aimed at those who wish to start a career in the care industry.
Anybody can apply and its approved by Job Centre Plus as a routeway to work with guaranteed interviews at the end.
There is also a programme for people who are specifically interested in working as personal assistants, supporting people with day to day tasks at home and within the community.
The free two-day course will be delivered in venues across the county and covers topics such as safeguarding, infection control, emergency first aid and food safety.
Participants will also receive a free DBS check and can register as a personal assistant and access current job opportunities.
Cllr Lucy Hovvels, cabinet member for adult and health services at Durham County Council, said: “Adult social care providers are under increasing pressure to recruit and retain staff to meet demand for services.
“As a council we are committed to ensuring that our providers are supported effectively so that we can continue to improve care in County Durham.
“The Academy is a small but vital part of a much larger programme of work that aims to transform how we deliver services to our residents.”
For more information about the academy and the opportunities available, visit: www.durham.gov.uk/careacademy